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Murkowski looks to improve military recruit health

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Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013 12:07 am

FAIRBANKS — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has co-sponsored legislation that aims to reduce the high number of military recruits who cannot meet basic fitness requirements and who therefore can’t serve.

The Fit to Serve Act, which Murkowski co-sponsored with Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., would boost nutritional awareness for young people and would allow military leaders to open their base’s sports fields, gyms and other facilities to young people seeking a place to exercise, according to a news release from Murkowski’s office.

“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. “We want our young women and men who seek to serve their country to have basic information on what healthy weight means.”

According to a Defense Department report, the U.S. military discharges more than 1,200 first-term enlistees every year because those individuals cannot maintain a healthy weight. The department also estimates that nearly one in 20 current service members are diagnosed as clinically overweight, according to Murkowski’s news release.

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