Obesity in the United States and Effects on Military Recruiting [December 22, 2020] [open pdf - 526KB]
From the Background: "Congress has a sustained interest in maintaining capable military forces. To this end, a population of healthy and eligible recruits is important to sustain the military services and meet the annual requirements established by Congress. Though many aspects of health are important, a 2016 Department of Defense (DOD) report found that obesity was one of the main disqualifiers from joining U.S. military service. Obesity in the United States is not a new issue. A report published in 'Health Economics' in 2012 estimated that the percentage of military-age adults ineligible for enlistment because of excessive body fat more than doubled for men and tripled for women during 1959-2008. Since 2008, the percentage of obese youth has continued to increase. The increasing proportion of obese American youth reduces the pool of eligible military recruits. This trend may pose particular challenges with recruiting highly-qualified individuals to service in the U.S. Armed Forces."
CRS In Focus, IF11708
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/