Young African-american Man Exercising

The Pentagon found in a recent study that 77 percent of military-age Americans are too fat and drugged up to serve in the Armed Forces, which adds an additional strain on the country’s recruitment efforts. 

The Pentagon’s 2020 Qualified Military Available Study of Americans identified weight as the most prevalent reason young people are disqualified at 11 percent. The report identified drug and alcohol abuse and drugs as the second most common reason for disqualification at 8 percent. 

American Military News said the largest increases in disqualifications from 2013 to 2020 were for mental health and overweight conditions. Fulcrum7 reported that the 77 percent represents a six percent increase from 2017, when 71 percent of young Americans were considered unfit for service.  

“There are many factors that we are navigating through, such as the fact that youth are more disconnected and disinterested compared to previous generations,” Maj. Charlie Dietz, a Department of Defense spokesman, said.

The Council for a Strong America, a nonprofit organization said in a statement that the “increase in youth being ineligible for military service, it is more important than ever for policymakers, including state and local school boards, to promote healthy eating, increased access to fresh and nutritious foods, and physical activity for children from an early age.”

TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the challenges the Pentagon faces because of the weight problem for many Americans. (See “TOO FAT TO FIGHT: U.S. ARMY TO CANCEL WEIGHT LIMITS FOR TROOPS AS RECRUITMENT NUMBERS PLUNGE” 18 Oct 2022, “THE AMERICAN WAY: FAT, DUMB, AND STUFFED WITH SANDWICHES” 21 Mar 2023 and “MORE THAN HALF OF HUMANITY WILL BE FAT, OBESE BY 2035” 7 Mar 2023.)

Late last year, the Department of Defense said it had recruiting challenges and said it anticipated that it will “collectively miss our recruiting mission despite accessing more than 170,000 remarkable young men and women.”

“This constitutes an unprecedented mission gap and is reason for concern,” Stephanie Miller, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, told the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee in September, according to American Military News.

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