A group of retired generals say that Minnesota kids are too fat, eat too poorly and don’t get enough exercise to fight in today’s military. They are recommending more physical activity, more physical education classes and better meals in schools.
The Star Tribune reported that as a nationwide effort, the generals have released a report titled “Too Fat, Too Frail, and Out-of-Breath to Fight.”
Its findings reveal that 69 percent of Minnesota’s youth cannot serve in the military, one out of 10 suffer from asthma thus disqualifying them from serving in the military, 40 percent of the state’s ninth graders receive no physical education and more than 75% of Minnesota’s high school students do not get the recommended hour per day of physical activity.
Even though the U.S. is reducing its military presences in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important that the armed forces are a prepared fighting force. Guard and reservists need to remain ready for domestic missions as well.
“Regardless of the number of military troops, whoever serves is going to have to be fit enough to be able to conduct the missions,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Tim Kennedy. “It is very important for the citizen soldier to be kept physically fit.”
The report does point out that several Minnesota communities and schools have already began improving the lifestyles of their youth. Over the past ten years, the Safe Routes program has assisted nearly 200 schools increase the number of children commuting to school by improving bike paths, sidewalks and traffic signals. Also 94 percent of schools are now serving meals that have more vegetables, fruit, lean protein and whole grains.
According to the Star Tribune, the report was released nationally by Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of more than 500 retired generals, admirals and other senior enlisted military leaders.