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Army says number of medically unfit GIs on rise

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  • Army says number of medically unfit GIs on rise

    As the Army faces a prospective drawdown, it is grappling with a growing percentage of soldiers who aren’t medically fit for duty, Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker said Monday.

    About 15 percent of the active forces aren’t able to deploy for medical reasons — a growing problem that has “begun to erode the readiness of the Army as a whole,” Schoomaker said during a forum on soldier resilience at the Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington.

    With the elimination of stop-loss, attrition of surge forces and expansion of medical programs that better identify troops’ medical needs, the pool of those who are considered medically “not ready” for duty is broadening, and the Army must act quickly to ensure the burden doesn’t overwhelm the force, Schoomaker said.

    Many of the soldiers involved are not those injured in combat, he added. For a variety of reasons, troops might not meet unit health standards for deployment, parameters set by the strategic commands for combat or they reside on the temporary disability retirement list awaiting discharge, under the Army fold of administrative oversight and personnel support.

    “Rear detachments are getting an ever increasing amount of soldiers to take care of without the resources,” agreed Brig. Gen. Brian Lein, U.S. Army Forces Command surgeon.

    The Army aims to start addressing the issue at the point of entry into service, panel members said. According to deputy surgeon general Maj. Gen. Richard Stone, roughly 25 percent of new recruits come into the service with low iron and low bone density, and recruits overall have the highest body mass indexes ever recorded — issues that can be addressed during boot camp with better nutrition, improved fitness programs and lifestyle education, Stone said.

    Among the initiatives the Army will continue: the comprehensive soldier fitness program, implementation of an electronic health profiling system that better monitors soldier fitness and improved diet initiatives.

    At boot camp, this includes the Army’s “Go For Green” campaign, promoting healthy food choices. It also will include screening for a recruit’s potential for musculoskeletal injury and training them to avoid injuries.

    “We need to view soldiers at the premier tactical athletic outfit they are,” Stone said. “What’s interesting is that it doesn’t take large number of personnel descending on your unit to accomplish this.”

    The goal, the leaders said, is to move from health care to “health.” Schoomaker praised the initiatives undertaken by first lady Michelle Obama, who has made childhood obesity one of her signature issues.

    And he’s asked medical commanders to start examining the body mass indexes of their communities — the BMIs of children, family members and retirees served at their military hospital or clinic.

    He admits he’s gotten pushback.

    “I’ve asked for improved monitoring of BMI, and they’ve said, ‘How do I do that? I can’t get in children’s lunchboxes.’ I know. But figure it out.” Schoomaker said. “Some commanders have started teaching in schools or partnering with the local fast food chains and AFFES to see they can inject healthier foods and change behaviors, because we are all about trying to change behaviors.”

  • #2
    Re: Army says number of medically unfit GIs on rise

    Oh, pretty serious problem. The federal army has got to do something about this.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Army says number of medically unfit GIs on rise

      It is a serious problem.

      (about to vent) I'm getting really sick of new privates coming back from AIT and failing a record APFT just two weeks after graduation. As my companies PT NCOIC it is very frustrating having to conduct 90 day bar reviews every **** drill and conducting remedial PT with around 25% of the company. The culture in our nation today is one that breeds inactivity, laziness, obesity and self entitlement. Too many 17-21 year olds playing COD and then joining the Army(and combat arms in particular) thinking they are going to be a billy badass special operations soldier. Then they come to find that it takes alot of work and dedication just to be an above average soldier, and to be a super stud requires a drastic life style change. So they go back to being billy badass on the XBOX and forego doing any PT between drills. (Rant over)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Army says number of medically unfit GIs on rise

        Originally posted by SGT Juggernaut View Post
        It is a serious problem.

        (about to vent) I'm getting really sick of new privates coming back from AIT and failing a record APFT just two weeks after graduation. As my companies PT NCOIC it is very frustrating having to conduct 90 day bar reviews every **** drill and conducting remedial PT with around 25% of the company. The culture in our nation today is one that breeds inactivity, laziness, obesity and self entitlement. Too many 17-21 year olds playing COD and then joining the Army(and combat arms in particular) thinking they are going to be a billy badass special operations soldier. Then they come to find that it takes alot of work and dedication just to be an above average soldier, and to be a super stud requires a drastic life style change. So they go back to being billy badass on the XBOX and forego doing any PT between drills. (Rant over)
        +1 to that rant SGT Juggernaut. So true!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Army says number of medically unfit GIs on rise

          Hate to hear that. Its the defense for all states sake.

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