MILLINGTON, Tenn. — The Navy’s primary school for training sailors to become physical fitness instructors has recently been plagued by sweaty, heavy-breathing students who have exceptionally high rates of diabetes, Navy officials confirmed last week.
The Navy Fitness Instructor Training Program, located in Eastern Millington, has seen the rates of diabetes in students climb to alarming levels over recent years, as the number of students has begun to swell, just like the students themselves.
The Navy quickly responded with changes in an attempt to combat the number of students with diabetes who are all also suffering from lower back pain as well as achy joints.
“We changed the screening process to ensure we only get the best students in here,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Colombo, the senior enlisted person in charge of the program. “To get accepted into the Navy’s finest fitness school, one only has to jog a lap around a standard quarter-mile running track. Surprisingly, that hasn’t reduced the diabetes rate within the program. It’s puzzling.”
Reporters talked with some of the students while they were taking their fifth smoke break of the morning and asked their thoughts on the diabetes issue.
“There must be something in the water,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Watters, a student who has a jelly donut hidden in his footlocker. “I don’t know, I haven’t actually drunk a glass of water since I was in grade school,” he said while drinking a can of soda.
The fitness school has taken several steps to assist students to get through the one-week program, including removing scales entirely so students would no longer fail weigh-ins, hiring a sports psychologist to help them cope with the exhaustive 1.5-mile run, and allowing frequent “fatigue breaks” during the timed sit-up and push-up portions of the training.
At press time, the class OIC declined to comment as he was getting checked by EMTs for hyperventilating after jogging up a flight of stairs to gather some afternoon snacks.
Navy officials have confirmed that a remedial PT class has also been added to the Fitness Instructor curriculum.