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National Security Depends on your Health | Destination 100

The national security of the United States depends on your health! Southerners, those who live in one of 16 states that make up the U.S. Census Bureau’s, South Region make up 44{403e4a77550cf3c56db1b2da96d15a0ef3e1f57760e689917a813560078c1861} of military recruits.

A study from the researchers at The Citadel, the University of South Carolina, the American Heart Association and the U.S. Army Public Health Center found Army recruits from the south are less physically fit and more overweight than recruits from other parts of the country, according to Scott Berson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Frank Palkoska of the US Army’s Physical Fitness Training School told Foreign Policy Magazine in 2015. “…lack of fitness is a societal problem. The injury rate is developing into a taxpayer concern and lost training expense. And the lack of qualified recruits is becoming a national security issue.”

The candidate pool of US military recruits is dwindling “As many as 27{403e4a77550cf3c56db1b2da96d15a0ef3e1f57760e689917a813560078c1861} of Americans 17 to 24 are too overweight to qualify for military service. Even those who do qualify are coming in at lower and lower levels of fitness and getting injured,”according to Daniel Bornstein who led the study.

Injuries are costly. Each recruit lost to injury costs the Department of Defense around
$31,000. Yes, that is tax money.

You may not be in the 17-24 age group. You may not be obese. You may be physically fit and you may not be from the south. You may not be planning to join the military.

Does that mean that none of this applies to you?

Yes, it does apply to you and to me. Even though the population smokes and drinks less than it used to, our individual fitness and lifestyle choices all contribute to the public health. As the problems of decreased fitness and obesity increase so does the adverse impact on American military readiness and the cost to the taxpayer.

What kind of example are you presenting to your children, your students (if you are a teacher or coach) your co-workers, your friends? Is being healthy is a priority for you? Who are you influencing?

Think globally and act locally. Saving the planet or impacting military readiness and national security are goals which may be–actually probably are–beyond the control of each of us as individuals.

So does it matter? A jigsaw puzzle may have a thousand pieces but the picture is not complete without each of those pieces. Your health affects the other 999 pieces.

If you are ready to do your part to “get healthy” sign up for the Destination 100 program. You are not alone. Become a part of this community dedicated to living long and living well. Our national security depends on you!