In the United States, one-third of young people who want to join the military cannot do so because they are overweight. For the first time since 2005, the Pentagon was unable to recruit as many people as they had hoped because of this public health problem.
On Wednesday October 10th, retired General Samuel Ebbesen released a report from the Council for a Strong America think tank on army recruitment, in which it was revealed that the US Army is struggling to find new recruits because of the obesity problem that is affecting the citizens of the United States. In addition, the document reveals that obesity is also increasingly affecting enlisted soldiers, which would make them less effective in combat according to the retired general.
‘In the United States, 71% of young people aged 17 to 24 are not eligible for military service and obesity prevents 31% of young people from serving if they wish to do so,’ says the Council for a strong America website. Beside being overweight, there is also a lack of education, narcotics use, and a criminal record when it comes to non-admission to US military service.
6500 recruits less than expected in 2018
‘It is essential for our national security that those who want to serve their country meet the eligibility criteria,’ Samuel Ebbesen said when presenting the document entitled Unhealthy and Unprepared alongside General Frank Muth, Pentagon Recruitment Manager.
For the first time since 2005, the army was unable to recruit as many people as they had hoped. Last month, General Joe Gallway, Director of Army Recruitment, revealed to the press that they had recruited 6,500 fewer people than hoped for this year. ‘At present, 42% of adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19 are overweight. These alarming numbers demonstrate the need to prevent obesity from an early age and up to high school and beyond,’ states the report about the problem of public health which is becoming more and more present in the United States.