January 19, 2009

In The News: Get In Shape! Yes, Sir!

Here's one example of childhood and adolescent obesity having consequences one might not initially think of: "the Army has been dismissing so many overweight applicants that its top recruiter, trying to keep troop numbers up in wartime, is considering starting a program to transform chubby trainees into svelte soldier,"reports The Washington Post.

Obesity tops the list of reasons preventing applicants from entering the military -- more so than "a lack of a GED or high school diploma, misconduct or criminal behavior, and other health issues such as eye or ear problems."

Recruiters estimate that 30 percent of all applicants are considered, pardon the pun, "unfit" as a result of their overweight or obese status.

And it's not just the military feeling this crunch -- firefighting department across the country are finding themselves with an increasingly larger number of young, overweight applicants unable to pass the necessary fitness tests.

And so come to the usual question: how do we remedy this situation?

We know that obesity is a multi-layered issue that calls, among other things, targeted public policy, education, and access to healthy foods.

In the meantime, how about mandatory physical education through twelfth grade?

The "stay active" part of the formula appears to be missing in too many places.

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