You probably heard about the recent United States Military Readiness Report detailing how our kids are too fat to fight. It made big headlines and rightfully so – the obesity epidemic is costing this country billions of dollars a year.
An article this week in USAToday by Chris Joiner highlighted that local municipalities are having difficulty finding applicants that can meet the physical fitness requirements. Both police and fire agencies report more people are flunking the fitness exam.
Last year, the Cambridge Health Alliance, along with researchers from Boston University and Harvard University found that over 75% of fire and emergency medical technician trainees in the state of Massachusetts were either over weight or obese. And Chris Joyner points out other agencies around the nation that are having a difficult time with the recruits not being able to pass the initial fitness exams. And that causes many departments to lower the physical strength standards to avoid discrimination.
Some vocational schools are responding to the feedback by adding physical fitness plans to the curriculum in an effort to help their students ready themselves, physically and mentally, for their new careers. And some experts are saying that a big factor in the problem is that lower level educational programs, such as those in elementary, middle and high school levels, have eliminated physical fitness training altogether.
There are horrific numbers on public school physical fitness training cited in the article. For instance, only one in five states require physical education for all students and more than half of the states allow physical education exemptions for students. Our kids need to understand why activity is so important – not to mention that we need to solve some of their problems related to school nutrition.
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