Men and women who serve in the military are expected to be fit and healthy in order to meet the physical demands of their work. However, a new report in the United Kingdom has revealed that some members of the British armed forces may need a little help to stay fit.
The Sunday Times published an article over the weekend where it highlighted potential weight and fitness problems plaguing some of the country's soldiers.
Based on statistics the newspaper obtained through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, as many as 270 British soldiers have been given diet pills over the past two years to help them manage their weight, while another 20 personnel underwent liposuction to fight off obesity.
The same FoI statistics also showed that about 800 armed forces members were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes associated with their obesity from April 2014 to March 2016. Of this group, 473 were from the army, 180 were from the air force and 147 were from the navy.
The figures are concerning since staying fit and healthy is one of the primary requirements for servicemen and servicewomen. For the past 13 years, more than 50 people have been dismissed from the military because they failed their fitness tests.
Aside from having to undergo fitness tests regularly, soldiers also have to maintain a fitness routine, which typically involves going through training sessions for at least four hours every week.
Retired Col. Richard Kemp, who led British troops during the war in Afghanistan, said the military's issues with weight and fitness is a result of a failed leadership.
He said that people can't joint the armed services if they are beyond the weight limit, which means that the soldiers mentioned in the report must have become overweight while serving. This begs the question of who allowed these soldiers to reach this state.
According to The Times article, the British defense ministry believes the FoI statistics were a "minimum" since armed forces members could be the ones looking for medications or procedures on their own.
"All Armed Forces personnel are educated in nutrition, diet and exercise, while prevention measures help individuals maintain a healthy weight," a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense said.
"In some circumstances additional measures may be considered in order to achieve this."
Photo: Defence Images | Flickr