Most U.S. Soldiers are Injured at least Once a Year and 78,000 are Clinically Obese

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
U.S. servicemen who failed fitness tests work to get in shape (photo: Lenny Ignelzi, AP)

A U.S. Army internal health review found the majority of soldiers were injured at least once a year and that nearly 80,000 were so overweight that they were classified as clinically obese.


The report (pdf) by the Army surgeon general’s office said 55% of soldiers were diagnosed with an injury in 2014. It also reported that 180,000 active-duty soldiers had at least one musculoskeletal injury per year, resulting in more than 10 million limited-duty days, according to Army Times. These types of injuries account for 76% of the Army’s medically non-deployable population. About 102,500 soldiers, including active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve, are currently non-deployable, representing 10% of the total Army.


The report said 78,000 active-duty soldiers, or 13% of the force, were clinically obese based on them having a body mass index of 30 or higher. “These soldiers also are less likely to be medically ready to deploy,” Michelle Tan wrote at Army Times. About 13% of male soldiers were classified as obese, compared to 8% of women.


A mission readiness report cited in the health study drew a correlation between a soldier’s weight and injuries. “The obese service members in the brigade in Afghanistan were 40% more likely to experience an injury than those with a healthy weight, and slower runners were 49% more likely to be injured.”


-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Army Report Shows Soldiers Lack Sleep, Struggle to Eat Right (by Michelle Tan, Army Times)

Health of the Force (U.S. Army) (pdf)

Military Spends $36 Million a Year on Weight Loss Surgeries for Dependents (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Three Quarters of 17 to 24-Year-Olds Unqualified to Serve in the Military (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Fattening the Army (AllGov)


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