UK Military Hit by ‘Dangerously’ Overweight Soldiers-Related Problems: Report

UK Military Hit by ‘Dangerously’ Overweight Soldiers-Related Problems: Report

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – About 40,000 of the UK military’s 145,000 personnel have been officially classified as dangerously overweight or obese over the past five years, according to Ministry of Defense (MoD) statistics as cited by a British media outlet.

The statistics also revealed that 5,200 obese or overweight British servicemen have been medically discharged since 2010, with scores of soldiers suffering from Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, Sputnik reported.

The heaviest soldier, who was sacked from the army after failing mandatory fitness tests, weighed more than 420 pounds (over 190 kg).

Over 850 troops have reportedly been prescribed diet pills since 2014, while 60 others have had liposuction surgery to tackle the problem.

This came as a MoD spokesperson claimed that “personnel can have multiple causes listed in a medical discharge, so may not have been discharged specifically for weight related issues.”

“‘The Armed Forces represent a physically demanding occupation and we continue to ensure all personnel are fit to undertake their duties. This includes physical testing to meet the necessary standards, tailored health programs and robust fitness education,” they added.

The remarks followed Richard Kemp, a former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, arguing that “every overweight service man or woman (in Britain) became overweight while serving.”

“Except for those who acquire an illness or injury that results in obesity there is no excuse for this. It represents a failure of leadership among those responsible for ensuring troops under their command remain fit and healthy and ready to fight. Allowing soldiers’ health to decline in this way is the same as neglecting a weapon system or combat vehicle to the extent it cannot function when needed,” Kemp claimed.

He was echoed by former Army chief Richard Dannatt said who said that he believes young overweight soldiers “should be monitored very carefully and if their weight cannot be controlled, they should be discharged.”

“Too many older soldiers put on weight as the nature of their duties change but their diet does not. Rigorous enforcement of the physical fitness tests is essential. I wonder if a blind eye is turned to older soldiers too often. The solution to this obesity and overweight issue is very much a chain of command matter,” Dannatt pointed out.

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