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Briefs: Obesity is top reason a third of young people are unfit for military

Obese? Uncle Sam doesn't want you

One-third of Americans ages 17 to 24 have health problems that make them unfit for military service, a new report from the Pentagon says. The biggest single health issue: obesity. "Kids are just not able to do pushups," Curt Gilroy, the Pentagon's director of accessions, told Army Times. "And they can't do pullups. And they can't run." This lack of fitness is a national security threat, declares a report called "Mission: Readiness.'' The report says 32 percent of American young people are overweight; in Florida, it's 33 percent. Add issues such as illegal drug use, dropping out of school and too many underage dependents, and just a quarter of U.S. youth meet service standards, according to the report.

Daily cup of cocoa helps your arteries

A bedtime cup of cocoa might do more than help you sleep. A new study shows the comforting beverage may reduce inflammation, potentially slowing or preventing development of atherosclerosis. Scientists in Barcelona, Spain, recruited 47 volunteers ages 55 and older who were at risk for heart disease. Half were given 20-gram sachets of soluble cocoa powder to drink with skim milk twice a day, while the rest drank plain skim milk. After one month, the groups were switched. Blood tests found that after participants drank chocolate milk twice a day for four weeks, they had significantly lower levels of several inflammatory biomarkers, though the effect was not as pronounced as that seen with red wine. Participants also had significantly higher levels of good HDL cholesterol after completing the chocolate milk regimen, according to the study, which appears in the November issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Get screened, free AARP membership

Walgreens and the AARP are sending big red buses around Pinellas County this month offering adults 18 and over six free health screenings: bone density, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, waist circumference and body mass analysis. No appointment is necessary, and those screened get a free one-year AARP membership for themselves or someone over 50. The first local stop is Wednesday at the Senior Friendly Extravaganza at Largo Cultural Center; another major stop is Nov. 27 and 28 at the Leap into Fitness event at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. For more stops at Walgreens stores in St. Petersburg, go to, or call your local Walgreens.

Times staff, wires

Briefs: Obesity is top reason a third of young people are unfit for military 11/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 6:04pm]
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