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Military & Medical Community Unite for More Physical Education

Military & Medical Community Unite for More Physical Education

PE for Better Fitness, Health and Military Readiness

SILVER SPRING, MD – April 22, 2014 – Four retired U.S. military leaders and four nationally known medical doctors believe that obesity is a matter of future national security and is a big reason for soaring health care costs.  And, they are convinced that P.E. in schools is a step in the right direction to combating obesity and reversing inactivity, now a national pandemic.

In a recent editorial in Mission: Readiness, Major General Errol Gordon Stump, U.S. Air Force (retired), and Major Mission ReadinessGeneral William A. Henderson, U.S. Air Force (retired), stated that 70% of Americans ages 14-17 are unfit to join the military and 1,200 U.S. military recruits are discharged each year due to being unfit.  The cost to replace each recruit is roughly $50,000 per replacement which amounts to $60 million each year.

"We urge lawmakers to consider its benefits to the health and well being of our students, and the long-range health of society, and our readiness as a nation," said Stump and Henderson in a joint statement.

Stump and Henderson are not alone in their staunch support of higher physical activity standards.

"It takes years, not months, to build a strong, healthy body and the foundation for good fitness is laid in childhood and young adulthood,” said Richard E. Hawley, General, U.S. Air Force (Retired) and James M. Loy, Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) in a joint statement on behalf of Mission: Readiness. “But in the midst of today’s obesity crisis, most students still do not participate in adequate levels of physical activity."

Doctors LogoFour members of Doctors for a PHIT America, who agree that physical education in schools is a great prescription for total health, support the concept of getting America’s school children active and moving every day at school.

"It is nothing short of negligence on the part of school and government leadership, that we have allowed school physical education programs to disintegrate and levels of inactivity and obesity in children to sky rocket,” says Dr. Bob Sallis, Medical Doctor/Co-Director, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.  “Many have suggested this is complicit with mass child neglect and should not be allowed to continue.  Urgent action is necessary to stop this ongoing insult to the health of young people in America."

“Schools needs to refocus on training minds and bodies,” says Dr. Tim Church, Professor, Pennington Biomedical, Louisiana State University.  “We must do a better job of incorporating high quality PE programs into all levels of education."

“I am unequivocal in my support of this common-sense initiative at every level, for its indisputable and recognizable benefits of life-long health and academic success for youngsters, to its self-evident and incontestable value in promoting optimal health and overall security of our nation,” says Dr. Michael Mantell, Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences, American Council on Exercise.

“If we maintain our current diet and exercise habits, by 2030, every state will have obesity rates above 44%, and there will be 7.9 million new cases of diabetes and 6.8 million new cases of heart disease and stroke,” says Dr. Jordan Metzl, Sports Medicine Doctor/Author/Marathoner, New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery.  “$66 billion in annual obesity related medical costs will be added to America’s total healthcare spending treating these diseases alone.  Exercise is an important part of the solution to reduce soaring health care costs, disease and obesity rates.

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