American Troops Getting Fat!

I don’t like this. Not one bit. According to a new release in the United States Defense Department's Medical Surveillance Monthly Report more and more U.S. troops serving in Iraq are overweight or obese. In fact, the number of troops diagnosed with weight issues has doubled since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. The reasons why include stress from long deployments and, believe it or not, fast food and unhealthy habits like playing video games infiltrating the military; the USA Today investigates.

Troubling news, but its not much better here at home, reports have the states like Mississippi and Alabama continue to leading the nation in obesity, ushering in a more heart disease and diabetes. This is doubly bad because obese people now outnumber overweight Americans.

In related news, last year Mexico unveiled plans to encourage citizens to lose 2 million pounds, this after being named one of the world fattest countries. Aye carumba!

Via That’s Fit.

Image credit: Army.mil

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James - February 23, 2009 2:15 PM

I will admit, during the time I was serving in Iraq, I was actually gaining weight. The dining facilities out there were amazingly well stocked with all the bad stuff you'd find in the states....cheeseburgers, cheese steaks, chicken wings, french fries, not to mention quite a selection of desserts such as Baskin Robbins ice cream, cakes, and cookies.

I believe one theory behind serving all these high calorie foods, is to give the troops a way to alleviate their stress and let them indulge in some of their favorite comfort foods they enjoy back home. Seriously, if you were staring death in the face every day as we all were, sticking to the letter of any diet system would be the last thing on your mind; I certainly know it was the last thing on my mind.

I think the other theory about this, is the fact that many soldiers there have very high calorie needs (in the Iraqi heat of spring/summer, you can probably burn upwards of 3000-4000 calories a day if you were serving in a combat unit). By sticking to a Fuhrman-style diet, I don't see any way you could intake that many calories, so it stands to reason why higher calorie, lower nutrient dense food gets served in dining halls.

And as far as the "unhealthy" habit of video gaming, this was simply another way to alleviate stress and get your mind off of the daily doldrums of war...nothing unhealthy about that. Working out in the gym was also a good stress reliever, but realistically, nobody spends their entire "down time" working out, hence video gaming.

James - February 23, 2009 3:15 PM

I also forgot to add that the most logical explanation of why more and more troops serving in Iraq are overweight, is because of the relaxed standards now in place as far as new recruits are concerned. Since 2003 as this war has been more and more drawn out, the only way to keep bolstering the numbers needed there is to let more and more recruits into the Army regardless of how overweight they are (or how low they score on the aptitude test). Stands to reason as weight standards decrease for entry into the Army, the percentage of overweight soldiers serving in Iraq will increase. The article in USA today didn't happen to mention this co-factor.

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