Overweight, Obesity, Triples in Armed Forces

by Ryan Halvorson on Feb 18, 2013

Making News

Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is physically demanding, and military leaders have developed measures to ensure recruits are “mission-ready.” Unfortunately, a significant number of both first-time applicants and active military personnel do not meet this standard.

According to the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, a publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (2012; 18 [1], 7–11), the number-one reason for medical disqualification of first-time active duty applicants between 2004 and 2009 was exceeding the weight/body fat limit. What’s more, overweight and obesity have become increasingly common among active service members. The study reports that the rate of obese/overweight diagnoses among those serving more than tripled from 1998 (n = 25,766; 1.6%) to 2010 (n = 86,186; 5.3%).

What’s to blame for these high levels of overweight and obesity?

“The results of this analysis suggest that the U.S. military is significantly affected in many ways by the obesity epidemic among young adult Americans in general. For example, when not deployed or training, many service members live, shop and recreate in civilian communities. Fast food restaurants and physically passive recreational outlets (e.g., video games, television, movies, etc.) are ubiquitous in both military and civilian communities. ‘Nutritional fitness’ should be a priority of military medical and line leaders at every level.”

IDEA Fitness Journal , Volume 10, Issue 3

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is the associate editor for IDEA Health & Fitness Association; a Performance Specialist at Bird Rock Fit in La Jolla, CA; a Master Instructor for Metabolic Effect and the creator of www...

1 Comment

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  • James Van Sciver

    I'm a 23 year active duty army soldier. Would like to provide some insight if you like. Recently certified as a personal trainer and current the senior enlisted leader of a battalion. Look up the profile for contact info if you like.
    Commented Apr 03, 2013