An article written by the Associated Press describing the overweight soldiers in our military (titled "Are U.S. Troops Too Fat to Fight?"), discusses the overweight trends of the active duty and reserve military, but also the recruits who are too heavy to enter into the military. The military community has always been a cross section of society -- good or bad. These days, as our country increases in size, it is only a matter of time before the military shares the traits of obesity and associated illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer to name a few.
A shocking 20 percent of all male recruits and 40 percent of female recruits are too heavy to enter into the military ranks. Basically, the new recruits have to lose weight so they can barely pass the minimum standards in both the height/weight measurements as well as the physical fitness tests. See the PFT standards for all military branches.
The problem with having recruits barely passing the minimum standards upon entering military boot camps or services academies is the unneeded stress on the joints of out-of-shape people, unneeded mental stress of constantly receiving extra attention for being below average, and the unneeded loss of focus the new recruits have when actually learning their military jobs.
Being out of shape is a huge distraction for our recruits and soldiers. Many of these active duty and reserve soldiers do not make advancement to higher ranks, therefore losing extra pay, benefits, and future selection to jobs needed for career advancement. And, on a far worse level, if the overweight and obesity of our troops is not fixed, we are dealing with a national strategic problem which makes it difficult to defend America from our enemies.
There are simple answers - eat better and exercise more. Review the Stew Smith article archive for more ideas on fitting fitness into your life. Especially helpful are the most recent articles on a Summer Lean-Down Diet. This is a healthy way to burn the fat and keep the muscle so your fitness does not suffer while dieting.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.