Is the U.S. too Fat to Fight?

In 2012, fifteen times more troops were discharged from the US Army due to obesity than five years prior, and over the last 15 years, the numbers of obese people actively serving in the US military more than tripled. Source:

And The says, “Spiking rates of childhood obesity are a threat to a nation’s security and demand government intervention, according to retired military leaders.”—In 2010, more than one-third of children and adolescents in the United States were overweight or obese.

In fact, “Combined with other disqualifying factors—including criminal backgrounds and poor education (whose fault is that?)—excess weight means that an estimated 75 percent of young adults could not serve in the military even if they desired to.”

In addition, according to the Trust for America’s, “The number of obese adults, along with related disease rates and health care costs, are on course to increase dramatically in every state in the country over the next 20 years.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese.” In fact, two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

But the National Center for Constitutional Studies says it is the voluntary duty of the citizens of a country to enlist in the army in time of war … and support the President in an hour of crises.” In addition, the Founding Fathers of the United States assumed that American citizens would undertake responsibility for the ordinary functioning of the civil social order—that included defense of country.

However, there is a solution to this weighty problem, and the U.S. Marines already successfully used it in 1965-66.

When I served in the U.S. Marines (1965-1968), there was a recruit at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego who was so fat and out of shape that he couldn’t perform the simplest exercises without fainting. He was sent to what was known then as the book camp’s fat boy platoon where he spent more than a year exercising ten-to-sixteen hours a day to lose weight and build muscles before he was sent to combat in Vietnam where he was landing in DaNang the day I was leaving.

Therefore, if America needs young citizens of military age to defend the country, those fat boys and girls may find themselves in a boot camp for a year or more exercising their fat off—the ultimate weight loss, cannon fodder machine.

Discover Eating out in Vietnam in 1966


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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2 thoughts on “Is the U.S. too Fat to Fight?

  1. I think obesity of the troops is symptomatic of a larger problem and a reflection for the state of our beloved America.

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