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U.S. National Security at Risk: 70% Of Potential Recruits Unfit

U.S. National Security at Risk: 70% Of Potential Recruits Unfit

“Many are lacking the necessary physical strength and endurance required"

SILVER SPRING, MD – December 6, 2016 – If President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to expand the military is approved, then the pool of potential troops needs to shape up and get fit – starting right now.  Sadly, current statistics from Mission: Readiness indicate the number of potential military recruits is scaringly low.

The most recent statistics from Mission: Readiness reveal that at least 70 percent of 17-24 year olds in 45 states plus the District of Columbia are not fit to serve in the military.  They are not fit to serve because they are out of shape, lack enough education, have drug issues, or have a history of crime.  The issue of physical fitness is largely due to the lack of physical education offered in U.S. schools.  Physical education is only offered in 48 percent of U.S. schools.Military Readiness 2

Mission: Readiness, a group of 600+ generals, admirals, and military leaders, supports more P.E. and structured recess breaks in school to get students physically fit.  In other words, if the U.S. expects to maintain its freedom and defend its borders, then it needs a physically fit military.

"One in three children are overweight and obese and about 71% of our children cannot serve in the United States military because they are overweight or obese,” said retired Rear Admiral James Rodman during a recent interview with KUSI-TV (San Diego, California).  “That's an issue of national security that needs to be addressed.”

“Many young men and women are lacking the necessary physical strength and endurance required for military service,” says U.S. Army Colonel Charles H. May, based at Natick Soldier System Center, Natick, Massachusetts.  “This fitness delta must be bridged.  Our society, as a whole, needs to embrace the life benefits of increased physical fitness.  Many potential recruits, because of the fitness shortcomings, never have the chance to exploit career and life enhancing opportunities because they do not meet minimal physical fitness standards.  Families and academia have a responsibility to come together as one positive force to promote greater fitness now and forever so that all generations can truly, “Be All They Can Be.”

U.S. Health and Human Services suggests 60 minutes of physical activity each day for each student.  It can be done at school with a mixture of P.E., recess, and physical activity breaks.

While the focal point of the issue is the fitness of 17-24 year olds in the U.S., it’s necessary for the U.S. to make sure its young children are given the necessary attention and training to succeed in life – as both civilians and as future military personnel.

“A strong body of research has proven that high-quality prekindergarten prepares children to succeed in school and beyond,” says Joseph F. Perugino, a retired major general who previously commanded the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division and who now serves on the executive leadership council of Mission:  Readiness – Military Leaders for Kids.  “Children who enter school from quality early learning programs are better prepared for school, show lasting academic gains, and are less likely to engage in crime or substance abuse. In turn, that means they require less money in the form of taxpayer dollars be spent on things such as prisons and welfare, and more important, they grow into productive members of our communities.”

“Employers want the same capable people military leaders need: self-starters, the technologically skilled, problem solvers,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Dennis L. Benchoff and U.S. Navy Vice-Admiral (Ret.) Daniel L. Cooper, in a recent Veterans Day (2016) statement.  If those go-getters simply don’t exist, then our national security and our economic vitality suffer.”

Those comments from U.S. military leaders underscore the importance of PHIT America’s GO! Grants program, which is a series of grants to support the expansion of elementary school P.E. programs in the U.S. – before, during and after school.  The GO! Grants will jumpstart increased physical activity in schools, thereby increasing physical literacy skills, health and academic performance among students aged 5-12. 

“That is one of the reasons PHIT America is working so hard to rebuild P.E. programs in America,” says Doug Gordon, Special Ambassador, PHIT America and a longtime executive in the sporting goods industry.  “Our PHIT America GO! Grants get kids off the couch and ready for an active life outside of school.”

According to Gordon, PHIT America is also speaking with Corporate America in order to generate additional support for its quest to get American children active, fit, and healthy.

“One of our goals is to find a private sector brand and to get the U.S. military actively engaged as presenting sponsors in a program aimed at high school aged students,” adds Gordon.  We need to reverse this physical inactivity issue. We can!  It is timely, the time is now, and we can build a solution.”