Weak Bones

The Pentagon weighs in on that exercise question. 


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have two opposite comments on that. First, the study talks about the generation in general, without any data about the recruits and what they are getting for injuries at Basic. While it is true that the generation as a whole is the pool that military recruits are drawn from, there may be a variety of populations out there. Also, I will guess that excess weight is more of an issue for injuries in Basic.

OTOH, when I went down to visit my son at Camp Lejeune, more than half the young marines in his barracks were playing "Call of Duty." I suppose they used to be smoking and playing cards in the off hours, so maybe that's no problem.

Grim said...

To your second comment: it's probably fine for Marines to play "Call of Duty" during their off-hours, since they are subject to quite a bit of exercise on-duty. The problem is with civilians who are potential recruits: bones aren't dense if they never carry weight. (Similar to the discussion of metaphorical weight-carrying and maturity at your place.) Muscles get stronger, and bones also get denser, with heavy weight exercise. That's partly why the Army is trying to add deadlifts to its fitness test, although that has mostly been a fiasco so far.

To your first: yes, I agree. The military is competing with everything else those kids could be doing. Some of them are making good money at construction work, and they're not weak -- but they're also not interested in joining the Army. They make better money and have a lot more freedom where they are. The Army used to appeal to patriotic young people who wanted to serve their country, and maybe wanted to get some money for college; the Marines used to appeal to intensely patriotic young men (85% male) who wanted to prove themselves and be proud of something for the rest of their lives. Twenty years of war have diluted both attractions; and it may even be true that we will need apprentice electricians more than Marines in the future anyway.

douglas said...

I'm betting kids today don't drink nearly as much milk as we did, either. I know my kids don't. I was a veritable milkaholic, but I don't think that was unusual back then.

David Foster said...

A global survey on willingness to fight for one's country: