Obesity is now the leading cause of ineligibility for army recruits and those currently serving their country in the armed forces, according to Gawker.
Reports indicate that approximately 1,600 soldiers were given the proverbial boot from their positions in the military during the first ten months of 2012. This number is roughly 16 times higher than those posted in 2007.
According to the Washington Post, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling was charged with redesigning the military’s fitness program back in 2009. Hertling discovered that over 75 percent of the recruits hoping to join up were ineligible for service due to obesity.
He said during a recent speech:
“Of the 25 percent that could join, what we found was 65 percent could not pass the [physical training] test on the first day. Young people joining our service could not run, jump, tumble or roll — the kind of things you would expect soldiers to do if you’re in combat.”
Pentagon spokesperson Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde explained that having a healthy and fit military is essential to keeping the nation safe. If soldiers can’t be deployed at a moment’s notice, then they’re basically not doing their jobs.
According to Mother Jones, the Army is trimming the fat from its ranks due to budgetary demands. Since having overweight soldiers counted among the ranks isn’t the sort of image the military wants to send out to the rest of the world, several obese individuals have been released from their obligations.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Army has had to contend with overweight personnel. Shortly after Desert Storm, officials released thousands of soldiers from duty after they were deemed too obese for the battlefield. The following year over 3,000 troops were canned for being too fat to fight.
Are you shocked that obesity is preventing people from joining the military? Do you think the armed forces should do more to help soldiers who have put on a few pounds?