Military Service Makes You… Fat?

Funny Fat Soldier, Surrender, Isolated Stock Photo ...

You’re never too fat to surrender!

Are America’s military personnel too fat for their own good?

Dig this: according to a study by the American Security Project, almost seven out of ten of our troops, 68%, are “overweight or obese” (–which could be a problem, in case of war.

The American Medical Assn. says the “body mass index” is a flawed measurement and not worth much as a guide to policy. Oh, goody–so there’s nothing to worry about here, is there?

They don’t let you join the military if you’re already too fat to pass the physical; but apparently our soldiers and sailors, et al, have been gaining weight after they join. The rate of weight gain among the troops, says the study, has doubled in the past decade.

Yeahbut, yeahbut! Climbit Change! White supremacy! With prombles like these to deal with, who has time to address obesity? Not our Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Whatever happened to the 50-mile hike in combat gear?

Just askin’.

11 comments on “Military Service Makes You… Fat?

  1. It’s not a cut and dried matter. A well muscled bodybuilder could have a very high BMI, without being even slightly out of shape. I have visited an army base, not that long ago, and most of the people seemed fairly fit.

    1. There have been problems, where uninformed commanders order a highly fit bodybuilder to lose weight. IMHO, BMI is suspect, at best.

  2. When I served in the Navy, we had to do PT and we had regular tests (not medical variety but min push-ups, min sit-ups, chin bar hang, 1-1/2 mile run all in a certain time limit). That included a check on our weight. If we didn’t “make weight” they’d do what they called the tape test, by using a tape measure at certain parts of your body and then running calculations off of that. A lot of the guys who liked bodybuilding “failed” the weight but passed tape with flying colors. And if you failed any part of the PT test, you had to go to remedial PT until the next test rolled around and you could pass it.

    I guess between now and back then someone decided the military didn’t actually need to be fit anymore.

    1. I’m sure they were a whole lot fitter than now, especially since it wasn’t a social experiment then. It was just ramping up when I was in with Clinton’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” And, yeah, there were more than a few who took him up on that. Talk about wrecking unit cohesion.

      Do you know what his rating was and where he was stationed? I spent my time as an aircraft mechanic in Brunswick, ME but deployed all over.

    2. He was very young and the war was almost over, but he served on an ammo ship based in the Philippines, and although I’m not sure of his exact rank, I think he was a petty officer of some kind. Not a CPO, though–too young for that.

    3. That would be his rank. Example: I was an E-4 (Third Class Petty Officer) but my rating was AME, which was was Aviation Structural Mechanic (Egress Systems) which is a fancy way of saying my speciality was ejection seats (which I only ever worked in the school. The airframe I ended up working on had none) and environmental systems like oxygen and pressurization. Rating is the “job”.

      But on board an ammo ship—ouch. That was almost asking for it. He could have been any one of the number of seaman/shipboard ratings.

      I too wish I had spoken to my grandfathers more about their service before they passed.

  3. When my husband was a naval office (Canadian), they had annual physicals. People who fell into the “obese” category got warning letters that they needed to get back in shape.

    One of his shipmates got one of these warnings. He went in to see his CO and basically took off his shirt, showing off his body builder physique, and asked “you call this obese??”

    He was cleared.

    Meanwhile, one of the other officers was rather… doughy, shall we say, but very tall. He always “passed” on the BMI, even though he made no effort to remain fit.

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