These days, the U.S. Army predominantly recruits from Southern states. According to 2013 enlistment data, Georgia and Florida have two of the nation's highest per-capita rates of locals joining the Army.
However, a study released earlier this month by researchers at the Citadel, one of the military's major universities, issues a warning. Though the United States might not be done in by North Korean rockets or Russian disinformation campaigns, the American empire might just crumble because Floridians and Southerners are getting too fat.
"A cluster of 10 states from the south and southeastern regions (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) produced male or female recruits who were significantly less fit and/or more likely to become injured than recruits from other U.S. states," researchers warned. "Compared with the 'most fit states,' the incidence of injuries increased by 22 percent and 28 percent in male and female recruits from the 'least fit states,' respectively."
If you think we're exaggerating the severity of this problem, take the Citadel's own words here (emphasis ours): "The purpose of this study was to investigate state-level distributions of cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index (BMI), and injuries among U.S. Army recruits in order to determine whether or not certain states may also pose disproportionate threats to military readiness and national security."
According to data charts attached to the study, Florida recruits ranked in the bottom 25 percent when it came to cardiovascular fitness and incidence of training-related injuries:
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So how does the Army suggest the nation fix the problem? By investing in public infrastructure. Those damn socialists! Citadel researchers say Southern states, in particular, need to invest in better bike lanes,
"Some of the greatest public health achievements have come as the result of state-level policy change," Citadel researchers write. "State-level regulations around sanitation, fluoridated water, and the use of safety belts have all yielded significant improvements in health outcomes. However, state-level support for active living policies remains low in the United States. This lack of support is likely due to framing physical inactivity and low fitness level predominantly as public health problems, which generally do not resonate with the agenda of lawmakers."
This is where the study takes a turn for the truly frightening. Citadel researchers say that, because Southern lawmakers don't tend to care about "public health," the Army suggests persuading legislators to invest in local infrastructure since it's a matter of "military readiness and national security," because what good is exercise if we can't use our new biceps to punch Somali pirates?
But, hey, if we agree to paint "Fuck ISIS" on the roadways, would the feds at least pay for Miami to get some usable bike lanes?