As part of a statewide speaking tour, Brigadier General (Ret.) Joe E. Ramirez, Jr., Commandant of Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets, will be visiting schools in Brownsville and Harlingen on September 28 to talk to PE classes about the importance of physical fitness.

On Wednesday, General Ramirez will be Ortiz Elementary in Brownsville (2500 W Alton Gloor Blvd) from 9:00 am – 9:30 am and at Harlingen School of Health Professions (2302 N 21st St, Harlingen) from 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm.

Obesity is the leading medical reason why 73 percent of young adults in Texas are unable to serve in the military. Nationwide, nearly one in three young Americans is too overweight to serve.

A report from the national security organization Mission: Readiness, entitled “Too Fat, Frail and Out-of-Breath to Fight,
outlines a three-point plan to improve children’s health in Texas:

  1.  Build neighborhoods that encourage physical activity, including walking and biking to and from school. Currently, only 13 percent of students nationwide walk or bike to school.
  2.  Prioritize physical education (PE) in schools to promote fitness and academic achievement. In an average week, more than 60 percent of Texas teens receive no PE and only 30 percent get the recommended hour of daily physical activity.
  3.  Stay the course on healthier school meals. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 100 percent of Texas’ schools are serving meals that meet updated nutrition standards. This is an important part of efforts to combat childhood obesity since children consume up to half of their daily calories at school.

The report concludes that Texas must provide children with healthy school meals and more opportunities for physical activity in school and in the community to ensure that those who want to join the military are fit enough to do so.

General Ramirez is a member of Mission: Readiness, the national organization of more than 650 retired admirals and generals strengthening national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit, and stay out of trouble.