Obesity in the military is a growing concern. It is a proven fact that obesity in the United States is a growing issue among both children and adults. Obesity has no age group, race, or occupation. Unfortunately, 65 percent of military veterans are obese. This continues to be a widespread medical issue for veterans. From the moment you step off the bus and into boot camp, the military teaches and trains you to eat healthy and workout. So, you must ask yourself why obesity happens. One contributing factor might be that in every DFAC the dessert isle is as large as the isle for healthy food. Another issue must be that the military is the largest violator of equal opportunity. Each military branch has specific guidelines for passing or failing physical fitness exams by age or gender. If the military wants to get rid of overweight service members, then prove that equal opportunity exists and standardize physical fitness testing. Then you also must consider how the military defines overweight because you can physically be an embarrassment to the uniform by being overweight. But if you have a big neck, you will be within BMI standards and pass! Obesity among veterans actually began when the military standards and requirements changed.
Military Obesity Where the Problems Start
You don’t even have to look on paper to know that we have an overweight military. Just go on any base to see that obesity in the military is a growing problem. If you walk into any DFAC, you’ll see that the senior enlisted and officers are overweight. I am not saying that junior service members are not overweight because lots of them are as well. Over the years, the military has continued to accept mediocrity due to laziness! The PT programs and PT tests are jokes for lack of a better term, and the physical fitness programs are as well. The senior personnel in charge are sending service members out to PT with no supervision, direction, or motivation. The physical fitness programs that you’re taught in leadership courses are more of a warm up, especially for anybody that is in any kind of physical shape. If the military wants to help their service members, then it should develop a rigorous fitness program that service members will want to do on a daily basis. Leaders should stop thinking that PT means sending your squad, platoon, etc. to run 2 miles and go eat. That isn’t PT, but so many leaders see it as that.
Obesity in the Military and Standardized Physical Fitness
The Army PT test takes less than 20 minutes, so basically, the Army is saying that if a soldier works out for 20 minutes a day, then they’re physically fit. However, as proven, 65 percent of them are obese and don’t even complete that. There is a simple fix here that will actually save money, meaning that the number of service members getting medically discharged and then receiving disability pay will be lowered. Here is the plan: the military as a whole should have a standardized fitness and physical fitness test. Once this is complete, then each branch will have their own PT test based on occupation. The service branches should then have an allocated MOS, not ancillary duty, assigned to each battalion company. Their job would be the same as medics, human resources, and others. Once a service member is deemed overweight, give them a specific allotted time to meet regulations. If they don’t meet the requirement within the specified time, then the service member will be sent to his or her branch’s centralized training area designed to worked with, counsel, and bring to standard these service members. If they fail to meet requirements, they will be discharged. This may seem harsh. However, for our military and our veterans to stay strong and healthy, we need to quit accepting mediocrity due to laziness. Then we need to quit lowering the standards because the next generation is “technology driven” and their idea of PT is with a phone or iPad. If a veteran becomes overweight or obese, instead of accepting it and writing them a prescription, how about we send them to overweight therapy instead of physical therapy and save their lives.
Get on the right path to healthy, disciplined physical fitness by starting today and read more about the military in other Voice of the Veteran articles.