“The logic is pretty obvious,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender. “The troops need to be in excellent physical condition because of the demands of the important jobs they do in defense. Rigorous physical and mental standards are critical if we are to maintain the fighting readiness of our military.”
Makes sense to me. This was said at a press conference by a member of “Mission: Readiness, a group of retired admirals, generals, and other senior military leaders.”
An interesting idea would be for the military to offer a fat fighting pre-boot camp… boot camp! Isn’t one particular incentive for young – underprivileged – high school graduates to join the military that they will be given job training and assistance for college? I don’t see why offering to get them into shape wouldn’t be a good angle. I think it would be great if we started seeing commercials for the Army or Navy that basically demonstrated it as a fat camp, that also turned us into some sort of hero by letting us serve our country while battling the bulge. Pun intended. I could see that being a pretty tempting notion for a lot of young people who just need someone to yell at them when they don’t feel like doing push-ups. I don’t really see that type of promotion much different than one that claims you will receive financial assistance for school. Both are just incentives, and different people want different things in life.
I’m not sure if I’m sold on the idea that because “27 percent of young adults are medically ineligible for the military”, that we are actually less safe. I mean, I definitely can’t imagine trekking around all day on foot, carrying 50 pounds of gear and another many pounds of excess fat, and still being on top of my game when it comes to ‘fighting the enemy’. However, I think some people’s ideas of what makes us safe are a little skewed. The U.S. does, afterall, spend about as much on its military than the rest of the world combined, and yet a large section of Americans still feel unsafe.
Putting the politics of foreign policy and military spending aside, I really like the angle these retired military leaders are taking by not just saying Americans are too fat to protect themselves, but actually suggesting/targeting something specific like school lunch programs, like those that serve pizza for freaking breakfast.
“We cannot wait until our young adults reach enlistment age to do something about it,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr. “By that time, they may have already developed a chronic and lifelong weight problem.” […] “If we do something about it, school can become a terrific environment for proper meals.”
I found this point in the article particularly interesting:
The retirees referred to a similar push military leaders made in 1945, when concerns about poor nutrition in potential recruits resulted in the creation of a national school lunch program.
So the school lunch program that serves sloppy joe’s and strawberry sugar milk was a result of a similar proposal? I think that because the result of those suggestions has unfortunately turned into a travesty of nutrition, that it may have bitten the military leaders in the ass. I’m curious of the exact concerns they had in the 40’s that caused them to speak up back then. I wonder how those concerns compare to the ones that exist today, amidst our obesity epidemic and all… when most major diseases that cause premature death or poor quality of life are lifestyle diseases, largely attributable to poor diet.
With junk food in the cafeteria, physical education programs being scrapped all over the place, and school funding in general seemingly going down at every turn, I still think the school’s are a great place to start. Good job, Mission: Readiness!