Are North Dakotans Too Fat to Fight?

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Obesity is being singled out as one of the main causes why North Dakota armed forces recruitment numbers are down.

An organization is spreading awareness of how poor eating and exercise habits are affecting the next generation of armed services.

KVRR’s Brittany Ford has story.

According to Mission Readiness, 73% of the population in North Dakota is not able to enlist in the armed forces because they are overweight.

The organization is focused on changing the eating and exercise habits in youth that will help create healthier adults.

They say it is crucial for the future of the armed services.
“We believe it is a national security issue. We believe if we can’t have access to a healthy generation that, that is a definite security issue,” said Retired Air Force Major General Keith Bjerke.
We spoke with two army recruits who say weight and height requirements aren’t just about nutrition.

“First time I was way over weight and they told me you have to go down 20 pounds,” said Army recruit Beza Gathaga.

Beza always ate healthy growing up.

She says college was when she saw her most weight gain and when she didn’t make weight, it was a matter of breaking old habits.
“It was more of a mental thing I guess. I wanted the Army so I had to go through their qualifications, meet their requirements,” said Beza Gathaga.
Army recruit Thaer Alomran lost over 100 pounds in 8 months to make weight requirements, and says that mental discipline is key.
“I already wanted to join. Besides being so overweight, it was just a mental thing…I’m going to make the weight. I’m going to start working out every day. Did that,” said Thaer.
Army recruitment centers and organizations like Mission Readiness say it will take a culture change to end obesity, but it will also take mental discipline.
Brittany Ford KVRR News.
Mission Readiness is focused on re-authorization of the Childhood Nutrition Act, which requires K-12 schools to serve healthy portion meals.