Oh No! America’s Kids Are Too Fat to Get Sent Off to Die!

Or rather, America’s kids are still too fat to get sent off to die.  It’s been about two years since Mission: Readiness, an organization of retired military leaders promoting certain Nanny State school reforms, warned that a quarter of 17- to 24-year-olds were too fat to be useful to the military.

Greg Beato wrote about the first study by Mission: Readiness for Reason in December 2010 (pointing out that a third of draftees in the Korean War were rejected for health reasons).  They’re back in the news with a new report about to be released that sounds about the same as the last one: American kids are too fat. We must reform school lunches so that kids lose weight. (Their initial report (pdf) also lobbied for stronger pre-kindergarten programs, indicating what this whole little study was really about: More federal education spending.)

CNN’s reporting of the new study focuses on one Mercedes Lipscomb, who was rejected from the National Guard for being 80 pounds overweight. She lost the weight on her own. First of all, good for her. Second of all, way to point out that this problem does not require government intervention.

More to the point, CNN’s reporting goes on about the cost to the military ($60 million) to have to replace overweight recruits that are unable to complete their service, which means the military is apparently letting in some of these 25 percent. Another full 50 percent of young Americans are disqualified due to poor education and criminal records, but you won’t find any suggestions of charter schools or legal reform (the early education programs are supposed to solve these problems).

Of course, nobody suggests the idea that maybe the problem isn’t that Americans are too fat, but rather the military is stretched too thin and trying to do too much. Why is it not enough that 25 percent of the U.S. is capable of military service? That’s 78 million people. In 2010, America had 1.5 million on active duty and 848,000 in reserves. We have more than enough people in America who qualify to serve in the military. Maybe the problem is what America has been doing with its military that is keeping qualified applicants away? Why isn’t that part of the discussion, rather than treating America’s children as though they’re military property that parents aren’t properly maintaining?

Nick Gillespie and Tim Cavanaugh also weighed in (geddit?) on obesity as national security threat here and here.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    How in shape do you have to be to remotely pilot a drone or land death bot? Seriously.

  • RBS||

    Imagine that I posted a picture of the "bad guy" from the WoW episode of South Park.

  • BakedPenguin||

    They were blocking this?

  • mr simple||

    Somebody is. it takes me to an access denied page; no hotlinking.

  • Lord Humungus||

    health-care costs? Or perhaps the extra large chairs needed for our stalwart warriors?

  • SugarFree||

    Perverse incentives FTW!

  • ||

    "Bodies are for hookers and fat people."

  • kinnath||

    This was my main strategy for avoiding the draft in the 70's. Fortunately, they halted the draft the year I would have had to test the theory.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Pfft. That's just what you told the chicks. It doesn't work on me, fatty!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Barely.

    But you need to be in shape in order to keep enemty troops away from the drone control room.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not use drones to guard the drone control room?

  • SugarFree||

    Have drones fly the drones.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Of course. Isn't that the plan? Look how NASA has given up manned spaceflight for remote drones.

  • Tim||

    This reminds me of your plan to open a Starbucks inside a Starbucks.

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure that would effectively tear the universe a new asshole or something.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Have drones fly the drones.

    It is drones all the way down.

  • Loki||

    "I for one welcome our new drone overlords."

  • Tim||

    At D-Day they shot all the fat kids first.

  • Drake||

    You used the buddy system. You made the fattest guy your buddy, then stayed behind him.

  • Tim||

    Apple Strudel, the Nazi Bunkers are stacked full of Apple Strudel. Also those big pretzels ...

  • Whiterun Guard||

    The Navy keeps them alive longest. In case of lifeboat situations.

  • R C Dean||

    a quarter of 17- to 24-year-olds were too fat to be useful to the military.

    And this is a problem for an all-volunteer military, why?

  • Brett L||

    They were also white, rural and rich (the quarter of the population that makes up something like 60% of our volunteer military)?

  • Tim||

    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Are you allowed to eat jelly doughnuts, Private Pyle?
    Gomer Pyle: Sir, no, sir!
    Hartman: And why not, Private Pyle?
    Pyle: Sir, because I'm too heavy, sir!
    Hartman: Because you are a disgusting fat body, Private Pyle!
    Pyle: Sir, yes, sir!
    Hartman: Then why did you hide a jelly doughnut in your foot locker, Private Pyle?
    Pyle: Sir, because I was hungry, sir!
    Hartman: Because you were hungry? [walks down the line of recruits, with the jelly doughnut still at hand.] Private Pyle has dishonored himself and dishonored the platoon! I have tried to help him, but I have failed! I have failed because you have not helped me! You people have not given Private Pyle the proper motivation! So! From now on, whenever Private Pyle fucks up, I will not punish him. I will punish all of you! And the way I see it, ladies, you owe me for one jelly doughnut! Now, get on your faces! [recruits get in front-leaning-rest position. to Pyle] Open your mouth! :[shoves jelly doughnut into Pyle's mouth.] They're paying for it, you eat it!

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    That's what I was thinking. Oh well more words of wisdom about fat soldiers from the Gunny.

    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy fucking walrus-looking piece of shit! Get the fuck off of my obstacle! Get the fuck down off of my obstacle! NOW! MOVE IT! Or I'm going to rip your balls off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! I will motivate you, Private Pyle, IF IT SHORT-DICKS EVERY CANNIBAL ON THE CONGO!

  • Drake||

    I love FMJ - it has every funny Marine story, saying, urban legend.

    One of the things that takes me out of the movie is that Pyle stayed fat. We had plenty of fat bodies at the beginning - and they caught a lot of shit. It was shocking how fast they lost the weight - within a few weeks, no more fat bodies.

  • ||

    Slow down, tubby! You're not on the moon yet!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The Empire needs a physical presence in all of its provinces to remind the subjects who rules.

  • SugarFree||

    We only make Stormtrooper outfits in one size. If they don't fit, that's on you, fat boy.

  • ||

    "Aren't you a little short fat for a Stormtrooper?"

  • Tim||

    "That's no moon..."

  • ||

    Grand Admiral Thrawn commands it.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Moff Tarkin never made us do PT this early :(

  • Drake||

  • Brett L||

    "Luke Skywalker, Han Solo! Where did they learn to shoot?!"
    "Sir, in the Imperial Stormroopers, sir!"

  • ||

    +1 Chiss

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    It would be unfortunate if I had to leave a garrison here.

  • ||

    fwiw, anybody who relies on BMI data as a proxy for "fat" is doing a disservice to metamorphs and athletes.

    show me a 94kilo or 105 kilo competitive olympic style weightlifter, and i'll show you a guy who has (likely) pretty low BF, but will score as obese, or close to it, on a BMI scale.

  • ||

    ugh. i mean mesomorph

  • ||

    Yeah, BMI always seemed a little goofy to me. Nobody's gonna mistake me for an Olympic athlete by any means, but I exercise regularly, walk four miles every day getting to and from work, and play hockey once a week, so I like to think I'm in halfway decent shape. At 6'0", 181 lbs., I'm supposedly four pounds away from being overweight. At the same time, I could lose 44 lbs. (!!!) and still be considered normal weight. I'm pretty sure that I'd be a lot healthier at 185 lbs. than at 137.

  • ||

    im just under 5'10 and i compete in the 94 kilo weightclass.

    that is 206.8 lbs and i usually walk around at about 215 and then cut (mostly water) for contest weigh-ins

    thus, i am considered basically obese for the purposes of BMI.

    several weighlifter friends of mine (air force, marines, etc.) all had to get BMI waivers because they registered way too high on the scale (despite being sub 15% bf)

    i was playing wii with with my nephew the other day and it had you enter all this weight/heigh etc. data for the game and it told me my "ideal weight" was like 180 and that i was dangerously heavy and fat and shit

    so, i shot the wii console (note: not really true)

  • Drake||

    The military has had to adapt alternative body fat standards to BMI since any man who lifts weights will probably fail the height/weight standard.

    In the National Guard they measured your waist and neck and put it into some kind of formula. I always passed.

  • Adam330||

    Yes, at least half the guys in my unit had to get taped after every PT test. Some even failed then, even though they were clearly in very good shape and aced the PT test. The sergeant would then proceed to fudge the numbers as LT looked the other way.

  • Archduke PantsFan||

    So after we abolish being fat, who's the next target?

  • ||

    Abolish being male, if Jezebel has its way.

  • Drake||

    This story is space filler.

    When I joined the Marines, they were taking people over the weight standards to a point. I knew people who had to diet to get in. If they wanted it, like the woman in the story, they made it. As long as a recruit could pass the easy initial fitness test, they stayed. No chance of anyone being fat by the end.

    Marine Corps Boot Camp was 13 weeks when I did it, no male recruit is overweight by the end of second phase (about 9 weeks). I wasn't over standards and I lost 20 lbs in first phase, and another 10 in second. Then gained 5 back in muscle by the end. At the end, I could barely remember which guys who had the "fat body" stripes painted on their PT shirts.

    Just in case you managed to smuggle some baby-fat off of Parris Island or San Diego, ALL the men are sent to the 1 month Infantry Course which is even more physically demanding.

  • Loki||

    You probably served at a time when DI's like Sergeant Hartmann from FMJ were actually real as opposed to characters that only existed in movies. Nowadays even the military is pussing out. They're not quite up to the "everyone gets a trophy" bullshit that seems to have infected the rest of the country, but pretty damn close.

  • Drake||

    Went in '89. The DI's couldn't swear or strike recruits (although they tended to forget when they got to the field). That didn't prevent them from instilling fear like most of us had never felt before. I bet they can still break down a recruit as efficiently as Hartman.

    In the National Guard, some of the young soldiers were a different story. The Infantry and Armor guys went through all male schools and showed up pretty ready. The radio operators went through Basic and Radio schools in co-ed units. They were used to some lower standards and required some squaring away.

  • ||

    speaking of the everybody gets a trophy thang.

    i have a friend who is a former marine who claims that in some less bad-ass branches of the military, that merely THROWING a grenade in training gets you some kind of ribbon/medal thingy.

    yea, i mean i guess it's kind of scary when you pull the pin, etc. and hold a live grenade in your hand, but worthy of a medal?

    apparently, not in the marines, but he claims is true in some other branches

  • Drake||

    One of my friends joined the Marines after being kicked out of the Air Force. He had a ribbon for qualifying with a rifle. He wore it on Graduation Day just to piss-off the DI's - which suceeded spectacularly.

  • Adam330||

    When I was in the Army,throwing a grenade was a required part of training.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    In the Army, there's a grenade bar that goes underneath the qualification badge if you qualify with it (anyone in basic training and a little more than pulling and tossing a grenade, but not much) same as with a rifle or other weapon.

    It's not permanent. You have to requalify with it every 6 months or a year in order to maintain it and you can't wear qualifications ribbons from other services such as the Navy or AF.

  • CatchTheCarp||

    Graduated from MCRD San Diego in '76. They had a "hog farm" the fatso's attended until they made weight and could pass a PT test. I believe it was voluntary. It certainly didn't look like any fun. Our drill instructors told us everyone would have to have a 30 inch waist or less in order to graduate. They were bluffing, I finished with a 34. I started at 210 and graduated at 190, in the best shape I'd ever been in. I saw some of the funniest shit in my life during those 13 weeks, good times. They told us we wouldn't be struck, too. They were lying.

  • Drake||

    Knew one guy who went to the hog farm. When he came back he looked all fucked up - like he had been sawed in half. His skin was saggy from losing weight way too fast. They still kicked him out because he couldn't do 3 pull-ups, probably because he was starving to death.

  • califernian||

    wait, so now the reason it's bad to be fat is because the govt can't make use of you when they steal you away and put you into the military conscription?

    Sign me up. Pass the pizza and beer please.

  • ||

    "pizza is anabolic" - will brink

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    rather than treating America’s children as though they’re military property that parents aren’t properly maintaining?

    As far as the statists are concerned, America's children are military property. They'll more or less admit it if you push them hard enough.

  • Public Citizzen||

    Maybe if we had a requirement that all new federal hiring must be from those with active duty military service on their resume the slugs and slackers would start to get the message that your lifestyle and choices may impact your future ability to earn a living.
    After a few years of this sort of hiring the bureaucratic cultural mindset is going to start to show a change with less sympathy and understanding for the deadweights that are dragging us all down.

  • Lian||

    The figures may vary lower. But the problem of obesity or overweight is there with alarm. Americans have to make a strategy to address this epidemic as obesity does not create any problem instantly and hence we ignore it. But the long term effects are very difficult to attain. So it is better to kill it now before it does the same.

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