(PatriotWise.com) — More than 10,000 US soldiers are suffering from obesity, according to new research. The phenomenon significantly worsened during the pandemic lockdowns when soldiers did not have access to gyms or their normal physical activities. Similar weight gains were noted across the armed forces, including the Navy and even the Marines. Tracey Perez Koehlmoos, director of the Center for Health Services Research at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, who led the research, said that the military now should focus on getting its personnel back into fitness. She added that increased weight can make soldiers more vulnerable to injury.
The situation is not new, however. Concerns about overweight military personnel have been long-standing, and in the wake of the army’s failure to reach its recruitment quota last year, it was noted that some applicants had failed because of a lack of physical fitness. This was named as the number one disqualifying criterion and applied to 1 in 10 potential recruits. Stephen Cheney, a retired Marine Corps Brigadier General, said the situation continues to deteriorate and warned that the US military, and therefore national security, are at risk of being compromised.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that obesity in America affects a staggering 49% of the population. This has risen from 30% in the year 2000 and can have devastating health implications. It is linked to heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. The annual cost of treatment for obesity and related conditions was $173 billion in 2019. The CDC states that the condition is most prevalent in the African-American community, followed by Hispanics, whites, and Asians. It is also more likely to affect people without a college degree.
Investigations into why obesity is so common in the United States tend to find that portion sizes are much larger than they were decades ago, inactivity has dramatically increased, and there is a general lack of understanding about nutrition and weight loss. Few people understand for example that stress and lack of sleep contribute significantly to an individual’s weight and fitness.
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