Unhealthy Food System Makes 1/3 of Eligible Recruits Too Fat To Serve in the Military


photo: J. Novak

It is becoming more and more evident that the American food system is beginning to weigh us down. No pun intended. But a new study done by the non-profit Mission: Readiness found on Civil Eats, that 1/3 of young people are unfit to serve because of weight. Frightening statistics in a time where military readiness is ever important. It's no secret that the American diet is making people fat but who knew that the military has to turn away 15,000 potential recruits a year because weight makes them unfit for battle. In a time when troops are continuing to cycle in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan on more tours than we would hope to imagine, turning away 1/3 of eligible recruits seems terribly regrettable. And the requirements are less than strict. The military excepts 26 percent body fat for men and an even larger number for women.

Curt Gilroy, the Pentagon's director of accessions, told the Army Times that "[k]ids are just not able to do push-ups, [a]nd they can't do pull-ups. And they can't run."

The American diet has become more and more caloric and less and less nutrient dense. A study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis reveals that Americans are getting nearly one-third of their calories from junk foods: soft drinks, sweets, desserts, alcoholic beverages, and salty snacks. These foods are more often than not made with high fructose corn syrup which comes from corn that is grown as a monoculture. I've written before that monocultures are often dressed with a toxic cocktail of pesticides so that the homogenous grain can survive in evolving circumstances. None of which are good for us or the planet.

More on Obesity:
How Much Can Bike Commuting Curb Obesity?
You Are Where You Eat: Obesity Maps of North America
Green Eyes On: Obesity and Organics

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