Wednesday February 26, 2020
Home Lead Story Nearly Three-...

Nearly Three-Quarters of Young Americans Unfit to Serve in America’s Military

U.S. President Donald Trump encouraged Americans to enlist in the military

0
//
Americans, Unfit, Military
FILE - Matt Elam, center, competes in a US Marine pull-up contest while Marine recruiters watch. VOA

As he reveled in the huge display of military might during last week’s Independence Day celebration on the National Mall, U.S. President Donald Trump encouraged Americans to enlist in the military.

“To young Americans across our country, now is your chance to join our military and make a truly great statement in life, and you should do it,” Trump said in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House the following day, Trump predicted that his display would boost military enlistment. “Based on that, we’re going to have a lot of people joining our military,” he said.

However, with a 2016 Department of Defense report finding that nearly three-quarters of young Americans are unfit to serve in America’s military, Trump’s encouragement and military display may not be enough to reverse declining military recruitment.

Americans, Unfit, Military
President Donald Trump applauds during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, July 4, 2019, in Washington. VOA

According to the Department of Defense, the Navy, Marines, and Air Force met their recruiting goals in 2018, but the Army, the military’s largest branch, fell more than 6,500 recruits short – about 8% below its target of 76,500.

A 2018 report by Mission: Readiness, a group of 750 retired military professionals that makes policy recommendations to increase the percentage of young Americans eligible to serve in the military, found that 71% of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 fail to meet all of the basic requirements for military service.

The biggest disqualifier is obesity, with roughly 31% of American youths disqualified because they are overweight. Other factors explaining the shortage of eligible recruits are inadequate education, criminal history and drug use. According to Army Major Gen. (Ret.) Allen Youngman, a member of Mission: Readiness, almost 25% of high school graduates are unable to pass the basic military entrance exams, which not only disqualifies them from technical positions within the service but also from military service as a whole.

Not only is the pool of eligible recruits shrinking, but the number of young Americans interested in military careers is dropping as well, the report found. This is partly the result of a strong national economy, since plentiful civilian jobs may make military careers seem less appealing, according to Youngman.

Also Read- Iowa and Nevada to Cast their Votes over Telephone

As the number of people serving in the military declines, the problem is likely to get worse. “The number of what we call influencers in a young person’s life – people who may have had military service of their own who would serve as a role model or even encourage a young person to consider military service – is down because the number of persons who participate in the military over the years has gone down,” said  Youngman. The U.S. Army Recruiting Command reports that 79% of recruits have a relative who also served in the military.

Relaxing education or criminal history standards in order to enlarge the recruiting pool in light of the obesity issue isn’t an option, said General Youngman. “The position today is that the standards are the standards. We’ve just got to work harder to find young people who can meet them.”

However, the trends are not encouraging.

By age two, 14% of American children are already considered obese, and the proportion of overweight or obese children increases with age, the Mission: Readiness report finds. In the 16-19 age group, 42% of Americans are overweight. These statistics carry over into adulthood, with 70% of overweight teens becoming overweight or obese adults.

Americans, Unfit, Military
This Tuesday, April 3, 2018 photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in New York. VOA

The problem is especially acute in southern states, which provide a disproportionately large percentage of military recruits, but also have some of the highest rates of obesity in the nation.

Efforts are under way to improve the health of America’s youth.

As an example, Youngman cited the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which provides improved nutrition guidelines for school lunches. The program is the latest in a series of initiatives beginning with the National School Lunch Program in 1946.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the School Lunch Program started right after World War II as a national security program,” General Youngman said. “There was such concern about the overwhelming numbers of young people who were not qualified for military service in World War II because they grew up during the Great Depression and they had all sorts of nutrition issues that resulted in health issues later on.”

Also Read- 5G Users in US Experiencing the Highest Download Speed in the World

In the wake of the Great Depression, the goal of the School Lunch Program was to ensure that kids got enough calories from their school lunches. Today, calories are in general much easier to come by, so modern school lunch programs focus on helping students make healthier food choices. A 2014 study of 1,030 elementary-school children found that students selected 23% more fruit for their lunches and ate 16% more vegetables after the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Programs that seek to improve nutrition for school-aged children as well as encourage active lifestyles are important not only for military readiness, but also for society as a whole.

“There are some bright spots out there, but as a nation we still have a long way to go,” Youngman said. (VOA)

Next Story

Giving Back: Here’s How to Help Those In Need After Natural Disasters

Te aftermath of Natural Disasters is the worst. People lose property and life and that is why you need to help them out

0
Natural disasters
A new poll revealed that nearly three-quarters of Americans see natural disasters worsening as time goes on and those surveyed feel that it’s due to global warming. Pixabay

How many times have you been sitting in front of the TV watching your favorite show and then all of a sudden, it interrupted by a “Breaking News” story? Within the past year, it’s happened all too often… 

“Massive tsunami strikes Hawaii leaving 57 dead and the number is steadily rising” 

Or

“Hurricane Shawn continues to wreak havoc in the Carribean, leaving millions of natives homeless”

We’ve all seen these types of “Breaking News” stories and felt so much empathy and sympathy for those affected by those natural disasters, yet we sit warm and cozy on our comfortable couches just shaking our heads in disbelief. 

It’s tough seeing lives lost due to natural disasters but unfortunately, these things happen all the time. A new poll revealed that nearly three-quarters of Americans see natural disasters worsening as time goes on and those surveyed feel that it’s due to global warming…

As you watch the news and see the millions of families walking around in despair, you feel compelled to help them… So what do you do? You grab an old box and start loading it with clothes you don’t wear anymore and shoes you no longer can fit. In your mind, you’re thinking you’re doing the right thing and helping but in doing that, you’re actually not helping at all… you’re actually making things harder for relief workers.

Natural disasters
Donating clothes and cell phones can be helpful for people who have suffered from natural disasters. Pixabay

There is this thing called the “disaster after the disaster” and this is when post-disaster donations become so overwhelming that they become more of a burden than a help, more so because people donate things that can’t be used, according to npr.org

In an effort to help, people will go in their pantries and grab canned goods and other non-perishable items that have expired or foods that have already been opened… those are items that are being donated to those in need and those are also items that pose health risks and cannot be given to anyone. So relief workers then have to sort through those and dispose of them, taking them away from helping the families in need.

If you feel compelled to help, please do! Families are still trying to recover from natural disasters that have long gone and they need everyone’s help. But if you want to donate, first take a look at the items that will be most beneficial to those in need.

How to Help Those in Need

Host a Community Food Drive

When natural disasters strike an area, the families affected have lost everything they owned and one of the best ways you can help them is to host a food drive. You want to send non-perishable items like canned goods, dried goods, bottled water, dehydrated foods, and even water filters. When donating these items also be sure to check the dates on them… just because non-perishable foods have a longer shelf life, doesn’t mean they don’t have an expiration date.

Get with your local churches and businesses to see about coordinating a drive. Once you have all donated items, you can package everything up and deliver it to larger organizations that can have the packages delivered to the areas that need help.

Donate Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies is something that not too many people think about when it comes to helping with natural disasters but what people forget is that some homes are actually able to be salvaged with a little elbow grease and cleaning supplies. Things like gloves, masks, bleach, and paper towels and rags are going to go a long way for those who can salvage their home.

For those affected, you have to remember, a major part of a new start is also a clean one.

Money natural disasters
Monetary donations are always going to be the best way to help those in need after natural disasters. Pixabay

Donate Cell Phones

You’re probably thinking, what is a cell phone going to do during this time? Well, what you don’t know is that donating cell phones is going to help those in need tremendously. When a lot of these natural disasters hit, cell phones are the last things on their minds… their main concern is to stay alive!

By donating cell phones, they will at least have a device to use once they get back on their feet and won’t have to buy one. If you hadn’t noticed, cell phones are very expensive, so imagine the financial relief you’ll be providing them by donating a cell phone. 

Maybe you have a few extra cell phones at home and if you don’t, you can buy pre-owned cell phones that will give those affected a way to communicate with their loved ones to let them know they’re okay. The thing about pre-owned cell phones is that they’re in great condition and they’re reasonably priced.

Consider getting with your local churches, businesses, and non-profit organizations to host a cell phone drive. For reasonably priced pre-owned cell phones, visit glyde.com/buy

Also Read- How Residential Proxies Work?

Donate Money

Monetary donations are always going to be the best way to help. Organizations like the American Red Cross and Save the Children are always accepting monetary donations to put towards families in need after natural disasters. Check with your local non-profit organizations to see how you can help those in need.