One in five military-age Americans are too fat to qualify for the military. Since 2005, the military has turned away 48,000 overweight recruits, more than all the American troops in Afghanistan.
Army recruiter Sgt. Jessica La Pointe says she has to become a personal trainer for many recruits just to get them ready for boot camp. "We do get people who come in the office that are overweight by Army standards, said La Pointe, "And then what we do is try to work out a program through nutrition and exercise." The fitness standards vary by service, with the Army allowing 26 percent body fat for men and more for women. Curtis Gilroy, the Pentagon's accessions chief, acknowledged that the national obesity epidemic is a problem for the Army. "We're faced with a dwindling pool of the youth population in the 17-to-24 year old group about which we are very concerned," he said. [ABC News]