Senators Introduce Bill to Improve Military Recruits' Health


A proposed bill aims to make more Americans fit to serve.

Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska introduced the Fit to Serve Act, which would boost nutritional awareness and help improve fitness and health among military-aged Americans by allowing military leaders to voluntarily open their base's sports fields, gyms and other facilities to people looking for a place to exercise.

The Fit to Serve Act also would require military recruiting offices and websites to provide potential recruits with information about healthy weights and body mass indexes (BMI).

"Obesity is an enormous hindrance for our young people seeking to enlist in the armed forces and a lifelong health issue we can do more to avoid," Murkowski said in a statement. "We need to help our youth shape up. We want our young women and men who seek to serve their country to have basic information on what healthy weight means."

The bill is supported by the Campaign to End Obesity, an organization that advocates for federal policies that fight obesity.

"The childhood obesity epidemic in our country has reached epic proportions," Stephanie Silverman, founding member of the Campaign to End Obesity, said in a statement. "One of the challenges we, as a nation, face when confronting this problem is that there are significant barriers in certain communities that prevent children from receiving recommended levels of physical activity each and every day is a lack of access to safe places to be physically active. This legislation would help address this challenge and enable children a safe environment in which they can be active."

Other organizations supporting the bill include the American Council on Exercise, the YMCA of the USA, the American Heart Association, the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

The bill is currently being reviewed by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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