Skip to main content

Retired generals to young Minnesotans: You're too fat to fight


Hundreds of retired generals and admirals are sending out a May Day alert about military preparedness in Minnesota. Most of the state's young people are not physically fit enough for military service, the new report from the group Mission: Readiness says.

Mission: Readiness consists of more than 500 retired military leaders. They call their report "Too Fat, Frail, and Out-of-Breath to Fight." (Read the full 16-page report here)

Obesity, the report says, is the leading reason 69 percent of Minnesota's young adults are not qualified for the military. Asthma is another important factor, disqualifying ten percent, according to the report.

To improve the situation, the generals recommend that schools serve healthier meals and make physical education a higher priority. They also want neighborhoods to encourage more physical activity – especially walking or biking to school.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dennis Schulstad tells the Pioneer Press when he heard that only 13 percent of youngsters get to school on their own, "I could hardly believe that stat. In most cases these kids can bike or walk."

As the Star Tribune notes, the report says fewer than one-fourth of Minnesota's high school students get the recommended hour of physical activity per day.

Mission: Readiness says health problems also extend to young people already serving in the military: the obesity rate among active duty personnel has climbed more than 60 percent since 2002, the report says, contributing to injuries which sometimes prevent troops from being deployed.

This embed is invalid

The generals gave credit to some programs that are helping address the problem. They say the Safe Routes to School program has boosted the number of kids who walk or bike to class in Duluth, Robbinsdale, and on the Fond du Lac Reservation. They also cite the Bike Walk Twin Cities program.

Next Up

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man airlifted to a hospital after police shooting in Forest Lake

Police allege that the man presented a threat to officers.

Minnesota Wild

Wild's two third-period goals take down the Lightning

Ryan Hartman's go-ahead goal defeated the two-time defending champions.

Byron Buxton

Reports: Twins reach extension with Byron Buxton

The long-term deal locks in one of the Twins' franchise players.

Justin Jefferson

Vikings-49ers: 5 things you can count on

Sunday's matchup is a pivotal game in the NFC playoff picture.

Gopher Football

Watch: Gophers troll Badgers with 'Jump Around' after Saturday's win

First they took Paul Bunyan's Axe. Then they took their tradition.

Brandon Richart, missing person

Search underway for missing man in Anoka area

Brandon Richart was last seen Nov. 17.

U.S. Bank Stadium

5 teams win first state championships at Prep Bowl

A pair of records fell as the Prep Bowl lived up to the hype.

ashley Carlson

Remains of missing WI mom found in Pine County, MN

Ashley Miller-Carlson was 33 years old.

D'Angelo Russell

D'Lo's late takeover helps Timberwolves win double-OT thriller

Russell caught fire to help the Timberwolves get back to .500.