Eastern District AAHPERD 2007 Research Keynote: Effects of Current Trends in Youth Fitness on Physical Performance Assessments and Training Methodologies of the United States Military Academy and the Army

Article excerpt

There are abundant data to substantiate the continued downward spiral of youth fitness in the United States, which in turn drives down initial entry fitness levels for the armed services and the national service academies. In his introductory remarks at the Center for Accession Research Consortium (January, 2004), LTG Dennis D. Cavin stated that the declining level of youth fitness was rapidly becoming a national security issue. Poor physical fitness has been identified by the Center for Accession Research as one of the contributing causes of failure, injury, and attrition from basic combat training. Much of initial military training attrition is attributed to injury and failure to adjust, which many times is related to the significant physical rigors of basic training. It has been estimated that lost productivity due to all causes of basic training attrition at Fort Jackson for 2003 was somewhere around $26 million. The Army is a physical profession. The physical demands on soldiers are growing exponentially with increased combat loads and the increasing complexity of fighting in urban environments. The increased physical demands will continue to grow for at least 10-25 years, until sufficient "nanotechnology" can reduce the load weight. To ensure the operational success of mission essential tasks, soldiers must possess the physical capacity and mental toughness to fight in hostile conditions and terrain. …