Report: US Army's Generation Z Recruits ‘Break More Easily’

© Flickr / The U.S. ArmyUS Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson
US Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.02.2022
A report from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, a United States Department of Defense-sponsored media provider, suggests Army recruits from Generation Z have a higher instance of injuries in basic training than previous generations, due to less physical activity.
US Army Maj. Jon-Marc Thibodeau, a clinical coordinator and chief of the medical readiness service line at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, was direct in his assessment of the newest generation of US soldiers.

“‘The Nintendo Generation’ soldier skeleton is not toughened by activity prior to arrival, so some of them break more easily," he said.

Thibodeau erroneously conflated Generation Z with the “Nintendo Generation,” which is more in line with millennials. Generation Z consists of Americans born between roughly 1997 and 2012.
Army Capt. Lydia Blondin, assistant chief of physical therapy at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood, supported Maj. Thibodeau’s assessment.
“We see injuries ranging from acute fractures and falls, to tears in the ACL, to muscle strains and stress fractures, with the overwhelming majority of injuries related to overuse," said Capt. Blondin.
Blondin added that the majority of injuries occur in the lower extremities. Injuries in basic training are to be expected as the transition from civilian to military life necessitates an increase in activity.
However, the upshot in injury has Thibodeau, Blondin, and the US military concerned.
Thibodeau bluntly suggested that recruits “'get off the couch,” while Blondin advised a training ramp up before entering basic training.
A lack of physical exercise and poor dietary habits have been a growing problem for Americans. The childhood obesity rate grew from 5% in 1978 to 18.5% in 2016. Childhood activity levels have also been falling in the developed world as well.
Generation Z may be physically less fit than previous generations, but the trend started well before they were born. As Americans’ health has declined so too could their national security.
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