Fattening the Army

Wednesday, January 07, 2009
John Candy in Stripes

Struggling to meet its recruitment goals, the U.S. Army began a program in 2007 to admit enlistees whose lifestyle has previously prohibited them from joining the military. The controversial lifestyle? Eating toom much.  Obesity is the number one cause of rejection for military hopefuls, and the Army now issues special wavers allowing recruits to meet their target body mass index (BMI) after a year in the service, instead of the time of enlistment. The Army recruited an additional 1,500 (out of 80,000 total) men and women in 2007; the annual attrition rate for these new recruits is roughly the same as the overall average, according to data provided by the Army Recruiting Command. The number of 18-25 year olds considered obese by BMI standards has nearly doubled in the past ten years, making it increasingly difficult for the military to find willing and physically fit soldiers. The recession has undoubtedly helped recruitment efforts, as people search for a stable career, and the Army predicts that this year it will meet its goal of a 547,000-strong force.

To Boost Recruits, U.S. Army Relaxes Weight Rules (by Gordon Lubold, Christian Science Monitor)


Leave a comment