Obesity Doubled in US MIlitary Since Iraq War
Obesity in soldiers in the US military has doubled since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, following a national and military trend.
Obesity is an ever growing problem for Americans. More than 1/3 of the US adult population is recognized as obese. While most of us do not think of an overweight soldier when we think of the US troops, the weight gain trend has apparently caught up to our friends in the armed services. Apparently camouflage does not hide everything.
In 1998, the number of military personnel diagnosed overweight or obese stood at 25,652, or 1.6 percent of the entire armed forces. In 2003, it increased to 34,333 (2.1 percent), and from then to 2008 the number doubled to 68,786 (4.4 percent of the total).
While 4.4 percent may not seem like much it is evidence of a fatigue on behalf of the the troops. Military persons are suffering under greater stress. Lack of support and funding has affected the mood of the troops, with a significant increase in the number of suicides in 2008.
And beside weight gain, the US Army has seen a sharp increase in suicides that hit a record 143 in 2008, compared to 115 the year before.
The recent study cited, unsurprisingly, video games and fast food as the main culprit for military weight gain, not unlike the civilian population. But it does see this trend as a problem. The US Army cannot afford to have their military lacking energy and effectiveness especially in the wake of such low public approval and decreasing numbers of young people willing to enlist.
Hopefully there will be greater support efforts in place in the future to keep the military active and healthy during their down time. Until then, officers, put the cookies down.