SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– Adjutant General Richard Neely and retired Air Force generals announced the results of a Mission Readiness survey Tuesday. It found that many young people in Illinois will be unable to join the military because of health problems.
“Only 30 percent of these Illinoisians are actually recruitable because of the challenges we see in our society,” Neely said.
The study notes that people between the ages of 17 and 24 have a variety of aliments that could prevent them from enlisting but obesity was the main issue.
Charlena Jackson is the principal of the Early Learning Center in Springfield. She and the generals believe instilling healthy habits into children when they are her students age is crucial to improving the health of the state.
“I did find that report very shocking,” Jackson said. “Getting the word out and having the advocacy that we have here today this is the starting point where we can bridge that gap for the future.”
“If you can start some good habits early, such as exercise, being outside and being active, you have an opportunity to effect someone for their entire life,” Neely said.
Programs at the Early Learning Center are funded through the state Board of Education’s Preschool For All (PFA) grant. Mission Readiness leaders said they are grateful for a 50 million dollar increase they received this past session to help make sure children in the programs have everything they need.