Obesity On the Rise In the Military

A recent article in the New York Times on a study by Mission: Readiness that approximately 12 percent of active-duty service personnel are obese and unable to perform many of the physical demands required for combat. Mission: Readiness is a group made up of 450 retired generals and admirals who focus on how to improve the overall preparedness of the United States military to protect the country. This is something that was anecdotally mentioned by Jared Haftel in a Duke newspaper article, but now it’s been proven.

The study, that included all four branches of the military, was based on a height to weight ratio. The Army, followed closely by the Navy, was found to have the highest percentage of overweight personnel while the Marine Corps had the fewest overweight members. More men were overweight than women by slightly more that two to one. The number of overweight active-duty service members has increased by 61 percent since 2002.

Even though active-duty service members are required to pass physical tests and weigh-ins, they often exercise and lose weight enough to pass, but put the weight back on between tests.

Members of Mission: Readiness are also concerned about the amount of potential recruits, with skills needed by the military, can’t presently join because they are too overweight.

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