We have military readiness issue among our youth, and the problem is only getting worse.

A new report, 14th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, found that 70 percent of American youth ages 18-24 — the prime military recruiting age — do not currently qualify for military service.

While the report cited a number of reasons for that — police record, drug use, poor high school academic performance — obesity was high on the list and climbing.

The report noted that nationally, America’s obesity epidemic is leveling off. But overall, it is still very high — too high, in fact, especially among our youth.

“70 percent of today’s youth are not fit to serve in the military due to obesity or being overweight, criminal records, drug misuse or educational deficits,” the report noted.

Source: Washington Examiner

Why it’s on our radar: It seems like, as a society, we’re doing everything we can to make it as difficult as possible for recruiters to fill the ranks of our all-volunteer force. If it isn’t quasi-legalization of marijuana in some states, it’s doubling down on failed primary education policies and bad eating habits. 

Imagine the nation getting into a global conflagration and needing large amounts of new recruits immediately: Where would they come from? Wouldn’t entrance requirements have to be lowered dramatically? How much longer would it take to train heavier-than-average recruits? Would there be additional psychological issues heavier recruits would face due to the added physical strains of getting in fighting shape? 

And we haven’t even touched on recruits that get high regularly or who have run afoul of the law. 

With nearly three-in-four young adults currently ineligible for military service, we’ve got quite a national security issue to address. Will we do so in time?