Tags: Minnesota | children | military | fat | obesity

Study: Minnesota's Children Too Fat to Join Military

By    |   Thursday, 30 April 2015 05:24 PM

Children in Minnesota are too fat and do not exercise enough to serve in the military, according to a new report.

Called "Too Fat, Frail, and Out-of-Breath to Fight," the report was put together by Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit comprised of more than 500 retired military leaders.

"A growing number of military recruits and service members are not only too overweight, but also too frail to fight," the report reads. "Many others have respiratory problems that prevent them from serving. While some physical deficiencies can be addressed once individuals enter the military, long-term military readiness is at risk unless a large-scale change in physical activity and nutrition takes place in America.

"Nearly one in three young Americans is now too heavy to serve in the armed forces, a main reason why 69 percent of Minnesota young adults cannot serve. At the same time, physical inactivity is a problem even among those whose weight does not disqualify them from serving; according to one study, one out of every seven male Army recruits reported that they had not exercised or played any sports in a typical week prior to joining."

The report states that 10 percent of young people living in Minnesota suffer from asthma, which prohibits them from joining the military.

Part of the problem, according to the report, lies in the state's schools: 40 percent of Minnesota ninth-graders do not receive physical education in a typical week, while more than 75 percent of the state's high school students do not exercise for at least an hour a day.

The other issue is nutrition, reads the report, which points out that 94 percent of Minnesota's schools now serve meals that fulfill updated nutritional requirements.

Still, the military is seeing the effects of poor nutritional habits of the past, with weaker bones and muscles leading to sprains and broken bones. Nearly two-thirds of non-deployed, active duty service members experience some type of musculoskeletal injuries, which amounts to more than 740,000 injuries every year.

"These injuries are the leading reason why 30 percent of the Army's reserve population is non-deployable," the report reads. "They are also the leading health-related reason for discharge from service. Discharges for these injuries have increased five-fold among males and nine-fold among females over the last three decades."

The study's authors make suggestions to improve Minnesota's young residents, including things like walking and biking to school, which would serve to get kids active and also reduce respiratory problems like asthma, plus improving kids' diets both at school and at home. Putting a larger emphasis on physical education is another way to help make Minnesota's young people get healthier.

"Throughout America's history, when military leaders have said it is time for a major change, the country has stepped forward to take action," the report concludes. "Too many children are overweight and have weak bones or underdeveloped lungs. Prioritizing changes in schools and communities that promote physical education and activity are the right steps for Minnesota's future. National security is at stake. It is time to act."

Another study, meanwhile, claimed moms that are overweight are four times more likely  to have children with ADHD.

"We already do know that obesity is related to health problems during pregnancy and throughout the lifetime," the study's lead author Heejoo Jo said. "I think this adds to that by suggesting that not only does severe obesity affect a woman's health but the health of her future children."

New research, meanwhile, found a link between obese children and watching one hour of TV a day.

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Children in Minnesota are too fat and do not exercise enough to serve in the military, according to a new report.
Minnesota, children, military, fat, obesity
Thursday, 30 April 2015 05:24 PM
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