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Obesity Among Reasons Youth Can't Serve in Military: Report

Military recruiters might find it difficult to find and retain service members. A report found those 17-24 years old are too out of shape to serve.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Soldiers dressed in army camouflage in an army parade

NORFOLK, Va. — According to a new report, 70 percent of people ages 17 to 24 could not serve in the military. One of the biggest reasons was due to obesity.

So, a Retired Admiral and Generals, Representatives Bobby Scott, and Elaine Luria gathered at the MacArthur Memorial Museum on Thursday to share how much nutrition affects our military.

Sounds like common knowledge, right? After all, eating healthy food means a healthy body. However, a newly released report from retired military leaders at the non-profit Mission Readiness shows that the relationship goes deeper.

The report’s research that increasing obesity is due to poor nutrition.

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“You know these things have consequences and we can’t find enough people to serve in our military and we struggle to meet our recruiting goals,” said Luria.

This information is especially important to Virginians.

A regional census found young adults in Virginia are 17 percent more likely to serve in the armed forces, compared to the National Average.

Admiral James Loy is part of Mission Readiness. He also served for 44 years in the Coast Guard. He stressed the importance of good nutrition makes in the military accomplishing their work.

“We as a nation cannot afford not to have a physically capable military community,” said Loy.

This Mission Ready report also Highlights the importance of Federal programs, in Increasing access to nutritious food for Virginia children.

Those programs include ones like the National School Lunch Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Women, Infants, and Children program.

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All speakers, like Congresswoman Elaine Luria, agreed with the report.

"If we make sure children are healthy through their school-age years, they will be healthy adults in whatever career they decide to seek in the future,” said Luria.

View the full report below: