Less Than 30% of America’s Youth “Fit” to Serve
General Robert B. Neller told Congress that less than 30% of today's youth is fit to serve, and it is causing a recruitment issue. “Fit” means mentally, physically, and morally able to serve in the US Military.
Let me remind everyone that this is an opinion piece and meant to stimulate conversation and debate. It doesn’t necessarily represent the position of everyone here at Tiger Fitness. So, if this gets your goat, please do not let it affect your brand loyalty.
Related - Is it Possible to be Fat and Fit?
But this stat hit close to home. I am the father of three very active and amazing children.
I help inner-city youth by donating many hours of my time per month. Above all else, I am an American who wants the next generation to do awesome things, live healthy lives, and keep paying into social security so I can get that check when I’m old.
Let’s keep this discussion short, sweet and to the point and discuss in the comments down below. We will focus on the physical aspect of this statement. Why are our children so fat and how can we make a difference?
1) Processed Foods Are Killing Our Kids
From behavioral issues to obesity, the crap kids eat is irritating.
I mentor a group of teenage recovering drug addicts and each time I meet with them, they are eating fast food. While an occasional Big Mac won’t kill you, eating this as your staple will lead to blood sugar issues, mood swings, irritability, and a whole lot of empty calories.
These calories are jam-packed into a scientifically-modified delicious, food-like substance that will add inches to their hips and take years off of their lives. A diet high in processed foods has been linked to depression, cognitive delay, and sleep problems. 
Look at it this way, the majority of their food is from junk. Junk food tends to promote excessive calorie intake. This makes them physically unfit.
At the same time, these very foods are making them depressed, slower thinking, and they can have sleeping issues.
The fuel, errrrrr, crap we are giving our kids in this convenience society is causing them to be fatter and less intelligent. We need to revert back to eating at least a home cooked breakfast and dinner to fuel the great minds of our future! So why are we settling for convenience foods?
2) Lack of Parental Involvement
With one income not being enough, people just don’t have time to cook for their kids. Cost of living and high taxes force most households with two parents to work long hours with no time to cook.
The drive-thru becomes a survival tool. And for single-parent households, convenience is a necessity. Parents also just don’t know any better. Many parents think chicken nuggets from McDonald’s are a quality protein source!
3) Physical Miseducation
According to the CDC, “Only 21.6% of 6 to 19-year-old children and adolescents in the United States attained 60 or more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on at least 5 days per week. Only 27.1% of high school students participate in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity on all 7 days of the week.”
Plus, only 19 states require physical education at all in schools. 
So, we get these 18-year-olds eligible for military service who aren’t physically fit to even be considered. What can we do to fix this?
The Solution is Societal
We know the issue. Processed, convenience foods packed with empty calories and lack of activity. Seems easy to fix, right? Wrong.
This will take years to even improve upon. The national childhood obesity rate is 18.5% in the USA between 2 and 19 years old. That is a LOT of kids.
And this isn’t just a bit overweight, or chubby, this is OBESE! We have a lot of work to do! How can we do this?
1) Educate the parents. SHARE articles like this one on your social media. Help people but don’t shove it down their throats. Just talk about the positives of healthy, whole foods and exercise and how it can help kids!
2) Find time! If you are one of those parents who stops at the drive-through, make the time to prepare. When I was a kid we lived on leftovers. Cook 2-3x a week and make extra to eat subsequent nights and bring for lunch. My kids take a thermos with leftovers in it like quinoa and chicken.
3) Healthy, quick options. An air fryer can heat up an entire meal in 10-15 minutes. There are food prep companies that can deliver healthy food options. Budget for the food, it is very important for kids!
4) Exercise with your kids. It all starts at home. Go for hikes, encourage sports participation and just stay moving. Rather than watching TV or playing video games, participate with your kids.
5) Donate your time. Help out with youth organizations to teach kids how to be active and eat healthily. YOU can make a huge impact locally!
It all starts with YOU. Why do you feel our country is DANGEROUSLY (literally, we are having military recruitment issues!) unfit? How do you think we should handle it?
Comment below and let’s discuss!
2) "CDC | Physical Activity | Facts | Healthy Schools." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 June 2017, www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm.
3) "Physical Education in American Schools is Getting Lapped." Slate Magazine, 12 Apr. 2016, www.slate.com/blogs/schooled/ 2016/04/12/most_states_are _shortchanging_kids_on_ physical_education_study_finds.html.