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Half of Young Americans Will Be Too Fat To Serve in Army by 2020

April 23, 2015 2 min read

Major General Allen Batschelet, the general in charge of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, says that 10 percent of young men and women who come to sign up for the Army are refused because they are too heavy. He says that obesity is becoming an issue of national security. Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 11.13.23 AM He warns that if the trends continue, the military will be unable to recruit enough qualified soldiers because as many as half of young Americans will be overweight by the end of the decade. 'The obesity issue is the most troubling because the trend is going in the wrong direction,' he told CNN. 'We think by 2020 it could be as high as 50 percent, which mean only 2 in 10 would qualify to join the Army. It's a sad testament to who we are as a society right now.' There were 195,000 youngsters who signed up in 2014, only 72,000 qualified. 10 percent of that 72,000 failed to qualify because they were overweight. Army recruiters have become like fitness coaches. They spend time educating the hopefuls on diet and exercise and encourage them to lose the weight they need in order to qualify. 'We are the premier leader on personal development in the world,' said Batschelet. 'We want to see you grow and become a leader. That is a great strength in our Army.' Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 11.13.41 AM The maximum body fat percentage that the Army allows for recruits aged 17-20 is 20 percent for men and 30 percent for females. The maximum a female soldier, aged 17-20, can weigh is 227 pounds, while the maximum for a male soldier in the same age group is 234 pounds and in both instances that is dependent on being 80 inches tall. Obesity rates have tripled in a generation with more than one-third of U.S. adults now considered obese, while 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese. What do you think? An issue of national security or fear mongering? Is the obesity epidemic big enough to bring this prediction to fruition?

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