Term Paper: Obesity Affect on Military Readiness

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Military Readiness

The issue of Obesity in America has been a serious concern in recent years. In addition to healthcare, the issue of obesity affects many different aspects of our society, including military readiness. This study is significant because it will shed light upon an issue that has become a serious problem and even a threat to national and international security. It is apparent that one of the most critical and detrimental impacts of obesity on the military is the decrease in the ability to recruit young people. The rapid increase in childhood obesity has led to a shortage of young people who are fit enough to face the rigors of serving in the military. This greatly affects military readiness because of the increased demands being placed on the armed services. If the military does not get the proper amount of recruits each year it will be unable to sustain certain troop levels and it will not have the ability to properly carry out its missions.

Chapter I. Introduction to the problem

Purpose of the Study

Research Questions

Significance of the Study

Key Terms

Chapter II - Design of the Study

Chapter III.- Context of the Problem

Chapter IV. - Review of Related Literature and Research

Causes of Obesity and Overweight

The impact of childhood and Adult obesity on Military Recruitment....

Childhood Obesity

Adult Obesity

Military Recruitment

Obesity amongst Active duty Military members

How the military is addressing the issue of obesity/overweight as it pertains to military readiness

Department of Defense Directive 1308.3

Additional Weight Management Programs

Chapter V - Results and Findings

Chapter VI.- Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations

REFERENCES

Chapter I- Introduction to the Problem

The issue of Obesity in America has been a serious concern in recent years. There has been a significant increase in the percentage of obese and overweight children and adults. A great deal of this concern exists because of the health and quality of life issues that arise as a result of obesity. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing as a direct result of obesity and the illnesses that obesity causes. Although obesity is of the greater concern, people who are overweight are also a concern. Overweight individuals often suffer from many of the same ailments as obese people but in some cases their suffering is not as severe. In either case, being an unhealthy weight can greatly impede upon the health and well being of an individual and even the larger society.

In addition to healthcare, the issue of obesity affects many different aspects of our society, including military readiness. The current war and the uncertainty presented by the ever present threat of terrorism, makes the issue of military readiness a top priority. The military is under a substantial amount of pressure to protect the homeland and to protect America's interests abroad. Because this is the case the military must have the ability to recruit healthy young people who can defend the country. In addition, active duty military members must maintain certain fitness levels so that they will have the capacity to defend the country. The military has a responsibility to encourage members as it relates to maintaining the desired fitness levels. In addition the military must show service members how to maintain their weight and fitness levels in a manner that is healthy.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this discussion is to examine the manner in which obesity has affected military readiness in the United States. The research will explore military readiness as it relates to recruitment as a result of childhood and adult obesity levels. In addition, the discussion will focus on current members of the military and the impact of poor fitness on military readiness. The research will also examine the practices and policies that the military has adopted in effort to address the aforementioned issues.

Research Questions

This discussion will seek to answer the following research questions:

How does childhood obesity affect military recruitment efforts?

What policies or practices have the military adopted to address the issues that arise from having significant numbers of overweight recruits?

How does having overweight or obese active duty members affect military readiness?

What policies or practices have the military adopted to address the issues that arise from having significant numbers of overweight active duty members?

Significance of the Study

This study is significant because it will shed light upon an issue that has become a serious problem and even a threat to national and international security. The findings of the study may demonstrate to parents and schools why children need to receive better nutrition and engage in more physical activity. In addition, it may shed some light on what additional policies the armed services should adopt or improve as it relates to encouraging healthy lifestyles amongst recruits and active duty members of the military.

Key Terms

Active duty- refers to members of the armed services that are serving fulltime in their positions as soldiers, sailors marines etc.

Armed Services- represents an umbrella term used to describe the five braches of the United States military represented by the army, navy, air force, marines and coast guard.

Body Mass Index (BMI)- denotes a measure of body fat dependent upon weight and height regardless of gender ("Body Mass Index").

United States Department of Defense (DoD)- governmental organization responsible for overseeing the armed services.

Obese- refers to adults who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30; also refers to anyone that is more than 100 pounds over the ideal weight for their height and age ("Overweight," National Institutes of Health).

Overweight- Adults with the exception of some athletes with a BMI between the 25 and 29.9 Range ("Overweight," National Institutes of Health).

Physical Activity- engaement in exercise, sports or any endeavor that requires the movement of the body.

Recruit- a new member of a military force, especially one of the lowest rank or grade

Chapter II - Design of the Study

This particular study will rely upon secondary research. In other words the research contained in the discussion will be derived from existing data including studies, reports, articles, findings of government agencies and books on the subject. The use of secondary research was chosen because it presents the best opportunity for determining the impact of obesity on military readiness. Use of a secondary research method to carryout the investigation is most effective in this case because it provides a detailed review of information over time, which allows certain conclusions regarding the impact of a phenomenon to be drawn.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits associated with the use of secondary research, such a method also presents some challenges. The first of which has to do with biases that may exists as it pertains to the organizations or authors who have published the data. Biased data can lead to the drawing of conclusions that are not accurate. In addition secondary research can be problematic because it can be misinterpreted. Although the aforementioned problems are present as it relates to the use of a secondary research method, they can be overcome through careful analysis.

The research to follow will include information from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the United Sates Department of Defense. In addition, the research will contain information from scholarly journals, national newspapers such as the Boston Globe and books by respected authors. The researcher gained access to the information presented in this study through visits to the library, internet searches and database searches.

Chapter III - Context of the Problem

As a result of the war and other events happening throughout the world, there has been a strain placed on the United States military. An article found in the Atlantic monthly, explains that since the draft ended nearly 30 years ago, it is the first time that America's all-volunteer military has been forced to deal with any type of sustained combat. The military has found that having to maintain the current troop levels is difficult of a number of reasons

For instance, at the same time that war efforts have been escalated, the United States economy has been generally prosperous (sans more recently) and some larger societal changes have made it difficult for the Army to achieve recruiting goals (Mockenhaupt, 2007).

In fact Lieutenant General Michael Rochelle, of the army has stated that "the confluence of challenges in recruiting, training, and retaining soldiers is "unparalleled in the history of the volunteer force (Mockenhaupt, 2007, pg.86)"

To alleviate the troubles associated with deployment and present the military with more choices as it relates to addressing problematic regions in the word in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Robert Gates the current defense secretary desires to increase both the army and marine corps by 60,000 in the next five years (Mockenhaupt, 2007,). Gates plan calls for an increase of 7,000 army soldiers and 5,000 marines every year. The article points out that the marine corps has an easier time… [END OF PREVIEW]

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