Jansing and Co | December 12, 2012
>>> disability. results from a new study show seniors who face physical disability with a positive mindset on aging are 40% more likely to recover.
>>> the military is now weeding out overweight soldiers and recruits to trim its budget and address what it's calling a national security concern. through october of this year alone, the army dismissed more than 1600 soldiers for failing fitness requirements. between 1998 and 2010 , the number of active duty military personnel deemed overweight more than tripled, upwards of 86,000 troops or 5.3% of the force diagnosed as obese in 2010 . i'm joined now by colonel jack jacobs , msnbc military analyst and recipient of the congressional medal of honor . how are you?
>> i'm not obese.
>> no, you are fit. but what is behind this alarming rise?
>> i think it's a national problem. we have a significant portion of the american public who are obese and a lot of them are morbidly obese . we have a hard time bringing into the service the people we want to because they're obese when they show up.
>> here's what i -- i mean, we have this idea. we have an idea of them getting up at dawn and running and you know, being an active lifestyle . is part of the problem that it's really not once you get out of boot camp ?
>> oh, no, it is, for combat armed soldiers, infantry armored artillery, signal units in some cases and so on. for the combat arms , they are constantly burning up calories. they are in training in the field all the time although that is liable to go down as we don't have enough money to put them in the field with the fiscal cliff. but for a large portion of the military establishment , they're sitting behind desks. these are enlisted people as well as officers and they're still eating.
>> one of the things we've seen, for example, with michelle obama , she's got this -- she wants people to get more active, let's move, and you see schools that are taking on what kind of food they serve. are there things that the military could be doing proactively to help?
>> i think they're trying. in some cases the military is being successful, but troops can eat entirely too much food. i'm exaggerating but not by a whole lot, half a dozen flavors of ice cream and all the food that you can eat, not just --
>> are we guilty of that when you go out and for example, when we go out to a big story and they put out a buffet, i'm always eating things i would never normally eat. it's there. it's like the mountain you climb except you're not climbing it. you're eating.
>> and the kids going through the mess line and -- you're not allowed to call it a mess line anymore. doing exactly the same thing. if it's on offer, i'll take it. we have to do a better job of offering fewer calories.
>> they have considered replacing, at least the army has, the current fitness exam they give with another one that they say is making them more combat-ready. so the current one says the soldier has to run two miles, do situps, pushups within times that vary by age and gender. the new assessment would include a 1.5 mile run but a 60-yard shuttle run , standing long jump , pushups, a rower which is i guess similar to a situp. is this really the more stringent test that we need? looks pretty much the same to me but i don't know.
>> it is. it sounds the same because it is pretty much the same. the more things change , the more they stay the same. some of those events used to be in the physical fitness test and they dropped them some years ago. but there's not a whole lot of difference between them. i think it's a function obviously of the number of calories you expend as well as how many calories you take in. testing them on one of those tests or the other test is not going to give you very much difference in the output. you're going to still identify the fact that you've got too many fat people in the service.
>> there are obviously soldiers who are saying i'm being unfairly targeted. if i have a desk job , does it really matter if i'm obese?
>> it does matter. you're in the military establishment and you're serving the country and serving the people, and you've got to -- you've got to be ready to do your job even as an infantry man even if you're not an infantry man at any time, you have to be in top physical condition. we're not giving you a hard time even though you served honorably in the past. what's really important is what you are able to do tomorrow because you have to defend the country.
>> how worried are you about this?
>> very worried. but i'm worried in a larger sense because the american public is not in good shape and that costs us a huge amount of money.
>> all right. colonel jack jacobs ,