Fit Friday: How Army is turning to lipo, sports not giving kids cardio
December 10th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Fit Friday: How Army is turning to lipo, sports not giving kids cardio

“Army Strong” or Army, tad pudgy?

They’re increasingly turning to starvation diets,  weight-loss pills, laxatives and even liposuction.

No, these aren’t the antics of models or even housewives on reality cable shows.  The Army Times reports that soldiers are turning to extreme diet measures to meet the military’s weight requirements.

About 24,000 soldiers were discharged between 1992 and 2007 for failure to comply with weight standards, according to a military fitness report.  Weight can kill military careers making them ineligible for promotions, leadership positions or professional military schools.

The comments are equally interesting as soldiers write about wrapping themselves in Icy-Hot, Preparation H treatments, popping stool softeners, going to saunas to meet the Army’s requirements.  Many of the comments say the military should reassess its weight standards.

Sports not great exercise for kids

Team sports are great.  But they might not give kids the amount of recommended cardio, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

This was based on 200 kids who played for soccer, baseball or softball teams.  Overall, only 24 percent of the kids got the optimal 60-minutes of physical activity during practice.  Read more on Time’s Healthland.

Can energy drinks give athletes wings?

Sorry, wing-seekers. But energy drinks aren't your best bet.

“The evidence that energy drinks can make you a better athlete is sketchy at best,” according to the Well blog.

Dr. John P. Higgins, the director of exercise physiology at Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute in Houston made the following points to the New York Times.   A study of collegiate runners showed that those who drank a sugar-free version of Red Bull did not improve their run times.  Also, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it could contribute to dehydration and the high amounts of sugar in energy drinks could give you diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset too.

What’s inside energy drinks anyway?

Walking to school ups your test scores

A study of 1,700 urban teens in Spain suggested that girls who walk to school do better on tests.

According to Reuters, girls who rode a bike or walked to school scored an average of 53 points in cognitive tests compared with girls who took a car, who scored about 49 points.

Girls whose active commute lasted longer than 15 minutes did better on the tests than girls whose commute time was less -  meaning there could be a relationship between active commutes and test performance.

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soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. razzlea

    I'm not surprised to hear that i think its sad that they need to use such measure instead they need to focus on their eating habits. Checkout my health and fitness blog http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    December 10, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Janna

      How about adding low rent military housing near all bases? With gyms, diet classes, and less processed food on base. Why are we wasting SO much money on less important things? If people get fat, ill, and lose jobs HOW is that helping our economy?!

      December 12, 2010 at 04:10 | Report abuse |
  2. ihart

    "caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it could contribute to dehydration"
    This is a myth. Caffeine in not a diuretic:

    December 10, 2010 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      From that very article:
      "So far, research does not confirm about any connections between caffeine and dehydration. It says that caffeine is a mild diuretic and does not have any adverse effect on exercise performance."

      December 10, 2010 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
    • FreeSpirit

      I trust my own experience. And yes, caffein does induce more urination and I feel dehydrated when I drink coffee!

      December 10, 2010 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
    • BP

      From a professor of pharmacy: If you read the article that you linked, and other sources, caffeine is a diuretic, but it doesn't contribute to dehydration because we build up tolerance to its diuretic effects.

      December 11, 2010 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
  3. SportsGuy

    Baseball not giving enough cardio? No way!!?!?!

    December 10, 2010 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thor

      Having played most sports. I find even Ping Pong has better cardio than Baseball. It's one of the few professional sports that has had overweight players. Their is no extended period of any activity for anyone on the feild. It takes more cardio to play badminton. What on Earth makes you think baseball has even the slightest bit of a cardio element at all? It doesn't even make you break a sweat most of the time unless it's really hot out. You sound like one of those people who is unfit and unaware of it. Probably skinny fat. Probably think of 5k as a long run.

      December 13, 2010 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
  4. mkass

    The Army, like another organization responsible for feeding people, needs to get on the bandwagon of recognizing the obvious connections between obesity and industrial food products. I'd best serious money that much of the food supplied to our soldiers is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, GMO foods, irradiated foods (to keep them "fresh"), etc. Industrial foods having been fattening the American public for decades. Why should the Army be any different. Soldiers put their lives on the line for us. They should be taken care of properly, not subjected to the same nutritional scams we are: http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/2010/07/marion-nestle-how-the-food-industry-hijacked-nutrition/

    December 10, 2010 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kmcg

      I totally agree with you.

      Fix the slop in the mess halls. Provide better gyms for those stuck in the office. And encourage lunch breaks with walks.

      December 11, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • Bob F

      I worked as a military contractor in Iraq and stayed at a small base most of the time, FOB Shield, and while there was plenty of bad food even when things were hot there were healthy choices of food too.

      December 11, 2010 at 22:22 | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Encourage lunch breaks with walks??? Hahahaha. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw a bunch of army fruit loops taking walks during their lunch and holding hands.

      December 12, 2010 at 23:11 | Report abuse |
    • Stefan

      While I am not a fan of the food you get served in the military, they do give some healthy options (though limited). The problem is that some Soldiers go straight to the pizza/burger line or they find the nearest fast food establishment.

      @kmcg – Walks at lunch for those stuck in the office? Are you serious? Everyone has physical training time in the morning, usually at least an hour. Those "stuck in the office" do too, but often times the leadership makes it optional. You don't see too many fat Marines... that's because even their office junkies are forced to workout.

      When Soldiers deploy overseas they often lose a lot of weight despite being solely on the Army supplied food. Probably because they aren't eating the same large portions at home or aren't spending every dinner at the drive-thru.

      Someone mentions later on during this blog how the MRE's are designed for combat troops and are packed with a lot of calories. The Army supply system that is meant to push combat supplies to those in the fight isn't going to customize meals to peoples vanity based weight needs. You don't need to eat all 3000 calories in the MRE! ... they taste nasty anyway!

      Body builders are the ones that get penalized by the height/weight charts, but that's why there is a tape test that measures the bodyfat in your body. I haven't seen any bodybuilders not pass the tape test. I have seen fat Soldiers who claim they are body builders, but eat at every fast food restaurant they see fail the tape test.

      December 13, 2010 at 08:55 | Report abuse |
  5. Amy

    What I still can't figure out is why I actually gained weight when I joined the military. I was busting my butt every day, so I should have been losing it. Might have been the side effects of a prescription med, I'll never know.

    December 10, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gala12

      Diet is more important than exercise. Looks like you consumed too much of carbs. What did you drink? Gatorade?

      December 10, 2010 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
    • LastSaneMan

      All of this is quite simple. To lose weight calorie intake must be less then calories used. Unless there is a medical issue, this isn't all that complicated. It is true however, some medications will mess up a persons metabolism.

      December 11, 2010 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • gala12

      To LastSaneMan

      What made you think that it is simple?Do you know about any medical trails that prove the energy expenditure theory?Looks like most Americans didn't find it simple and continue to grow fat. Are they more stupid then you? Even for their carriers some people are unable to slim down. Looks like body is more complicated than something like furnace.

      December 11, 2010 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Julius

      I feel you Amy. I am in the Navy and found out that the High Fructose Corn Syrup that is in everything was giving me Type II Diabetes. HFCS or corn sugar causes your brain to feel hungry and your stomach never feels full. Even some diet drinks (diet Fanta) has HFCS. Your liver has a hard time turning Fructose into glycogen and I believe that after a while it gives out and doesn't process your regular dextrose sugar (monosaccharide) like it should. In turn your body turns all the extra sugar into fat and since you will always be hungry from eating HFCS you are continuously getting fatter. Don't listen to their ads: SUGAR IS JUST SUGAR. THAT IS A LIE! Instead cut out HFCS from the bread and everything else that you eat. Drink plenty of water and exercise. Try a 12 hour fast and then measure your glucose level. Good luck, GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY!

      December 12, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • Wayne


      LastSaneMan is right. As for medical trials, here is one off the top of my head http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html

      December 12, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • rrock

      People have been gaining weight in the last 50 years getting more and more overweight. Could be the pizza and driving everywhere. So much for the set point theory.

      December 12, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • Gala12

      To Wayne

      It is not a trail, just some random curiosity mentioned on CNN. On many nutrition conferences doctors complained that calorie restriction doesn't work, that people can't tolerate hunger long-term, that weight lost as a result of calorie reduction is not sustainable. Do you want to recommend for our Army something with low success rate? Is the Twinkies diet the answer?

      December 12, 2010 at 21:18 | Report abuse |
    • rbnlegend

      Why did you gain weight when you joined the military? If you didn't exercise before the military, then the constant activity of boot camp would have put some muscle on you. Muscle weighs more than fat, so a few weeks of high activity/exercise will tend to cause a person to gain weight. After that, if you didn't have an active military job, you are just like the rest of us, eating low quality food and spending hours at a desk, and the muscle turns back to fat.

      December 13, 2010 at 07:15 | Report abuse |
  6. Clark1b

    maybe the Army needs a "don't ask don't tell" type of policy for active duty members that are not in good shape ....

    December 10, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DaVuVuZela

      What are they going to do, wear a girdle to hide their dunlop tire belly?

      December 13, 2010 at 04:54 | Report abuse |
  7. Grant Strong

    Sadly I saw this a lot with military personnel. They would want training a few weeks before their PT test. Instead of trying to stay in shape year round... they would try to get in shape a few weeks before the test. Adding a bit of healthy eating and exercise can do wonders. For tips and ways to make some small simple changes visit my site http://www.grantstrong.com

    December 11, 2010 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Futbol Czarina

    "Sports not great exercise for kids". This can't include soccer, except for the goalie. My boys run at least 2 miles per game (midfielder/defender) and run a minimum of 30 minutes during every practice. Once they reach about 8 years old, it was blood, sweat, and tears. Find an aerobic sport and encourage kids to give it their all. Sports drinks are great when it's 100'F outside and they're dehydrated, and they need electrolytes. Otherwise, stick with water and a piece of fruit.
    There is no excuse for Americans to be overweight. It's laziness and overindulgence. A fat person in the military is inexcusable. They need to be tossed out, or tested quarterly instead of the typical annual fitness test.

    December 11, 2010 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LastSaneMan


      December 11, 2010 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • Football

      We want soldiers. Not whiners. Soccer would be great if they didn't fall down every 120 steps and roll around on the ground.

      December 11, 2010 at 18:23 | Report abuse |
  9. Paco DeCrednsa

    Dr. Higgins needs to do a little research–caffeine is NOT a diuretic.

    "Caffeine has diuretic properties when administered in sufficient doses to subjects that do not have a tolerance for it. Regular users, however, develop a strong tolerance to this effect, and studies have generally failed to support the common notion that ordinary consumption of caffeinated beverages contributes significantly to dehydration."

    December 11, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. C

    The Air Force's new physical fitness test is sending a lot of people down the liposuction path. They have an unrealistic waist measurement as part of the new test. My bmi falls in the normal range, but the area between the hips and the waist that they take the measurement is literally the 'fattest' part of my body. On the test I max out pushups, max out situps and get a decent run time, but then I struggle to meet the waist measurement requirement. I already failed my first PT test on the new system. On my first try I maxed out the situps, pushups and got a good run time, but my waist disqualified me. Then on a retest I tried dieting, getting rid of water weight and all I could do to meet that waste measurement, and then I ended up too dehydrated on the run and started vomiting, and then I ended up not meeting the run time. I know one of the other pilots in my unit is planning on lipo and that might be my only option if I'm going to make a career out of this – or even finish out my ten year contract.

    December 11, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gala12

      Try Atkins, or Protein Power.(www.proteinpower.com) Going really low-carbs will slim down your middle section very quickly. You will never be hungry on a such diet.

      December 11, 2010 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
  11. duckling88

    I think you are referencing the "waist-to-hip" ratio in which you divide your waist by your hips. Women are supposed to be under .70. I am 5'5", 109, 16% body fat (I am female) and mine is .83 because my waist is 27 and hips are 33. This is a stupid measurement. If I wanted mine to go down, I'd have to remove a rib.

    December 11, 2010 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • C

      If you're replying to me, it isn't a ratio measurement. It is just a waist measurement, 35.5 inches for women and 39 for men. They don't take any external factors into account like height, weight, age, etc. When measured me they put the tape an inch or two below my naval, like where low rise jeans would sit. My hips and lower waist area is the widest part of my body, that's just how I was built and I carry most of my weight there. And when I lose weight it always seems to come off of my legs and arms. When they measured me the first time it came to 37, the second time it was exactly 35.5. Now if they would have put the measuring tape 3 inches higher my the measurement is around 29-30. I'm 5'4' and weigh between 130 and 135, which I realize isn't super skinny, but is well within a healthy bmi, and 25 pounds less than what the air force requires. I used to weigh more, closer to 140-145 but I lost that weight after joining the military. Even when I went to SERE school I only got down to 130, and that's where everyone loses a lot of weight because you are literally half starved to death over the course of a few weeks.

      Oh and btw I try to avoid base food at all costs. That stuff is worse than MickyD's.

      Two places where the Air Force has gone wrong is not offering anything healthy alternatives to the fried grease sponges and fast food on base. And then getting rid of mandatory PT, which means that we work long hours and don't still have to find time for pt on our own.

      December 11, 2010 at 18:49 | Report abuse |
  12. publius enigma

    Im pretty sure lipo does not make you healty.

    December 11, 2010 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Ituri

    Oye. I don't see how the military can whine about peoples weight getting too big.

    Outside my squadron there was a taco bell and mcdonalds. Not one health food store in sight. No veggies, and when they had them, half rotten veggies in the commissaries. Disgusting. Even better, inside the squadron they had a gi-dunk that sold the most greasy loads of empty calories I've ever seen. Worse than a high school on pizza day. A friend of mine that was a civilian spouse went in for weight help with her doctor, and was told they could send her for ONE meeting with a nutritionist. Other than that they could do nothing except wait for her to gain more weight until she qualified for a lap band or gastrosurguries.

    Now tell me, if you go in for help with your weight, is telling you to gain more weight to qualify for surgury really the answer you want to hear?

    The military whining about fat military members is about as ridiculous as it gets when their approach is to wait long enough to scalple the problem away.

    December 11, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • C

      I second what you said about base food. A lot of the stuff that they serve is so greasy and fattening that it doesn't even taste good. If you want to eat something healthier it is hard to find or you have to get away from the base to find a grocery store with decent produce.

      December 11, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
    • publius enigma

      I guess veggies dont mesh well with a macho image?

      December 11, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse |
  14. MW

    To whomever said "provide better gyms to those in offices". Have you ever been on base and seen a gym? They are the nicest around, especially if you are on an Air Force Base. Why can't we just hold people accountable for their actions? And as a tax payer, I don't exactly want to be paying the medical bills of these over weight soldiers, do you? If they can't pass the standards then they need to shape up or ship out.

    December 11, 2010 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian Sullivan

      "Shap up or Ship out" REALLY? My question is why did I see a General (Air Force) the other day who looked like Dom Deluise? Oh only the Enlisted and junior officers need to follow the standards. I forgot.

      December 11, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
  15. PeopleOverProfit

    Everyone is out of touch and clueless. No pills or surgery is necessary. Overweight people need to eat more fresh fruit & veggies, less meat and processed foods. So simple. The American diet sucks and is causing obesity and disease.

    December 11, 2010 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gala12

      Exactly the wrong advise. Fruits and vegies minus meat will keep you hungry. Go Atkins!

      December 11, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
    • johnnyk

      Exactly the right advice! He didn't say no meat, he said less meat and more fresh fruits and vegges. Diet is more complicated than that, but if people would simply follow that advice they would be a lot better off.

      December 13, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
  16. Corpsman

    I am in the U. S. Navy. I am 5' 8" and 200lbs. I have to get tape tested, a method of measurement around hips and neck that should fall into a certain ratio, before the semi annual physical test. I fall well under the required 18% Body Fat. Surprise, it's because I choose to excersize 5-6 days a week to include group exercise. We have the nicest gym facilities anywhere and I am on a Marine Base. The Air Force facilities are substantially nicer. So anyone in the United States Military that is overweight needs to find a new profession. Please, stop complaining. The tax payers have paid for amazing gyms, they can't make the obligatory horse drink TOO! So shut up or get out, you are only dead weight right now!

    December 11, 2010 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Damian

      No matter how physically fit you are or how fast you can run, you still can't outrun an M16 billet, and they are made by the lowest bidder, and if you try, you will only die TIRED.

      December 12, 2010 at 00:36 | Report abuse |
  17. Damian

    The US MILITARY want more than just physically fit soldiers, they want athletes who can maintain stamina when they are recruiting young adults who are used to playing video gaming consoles and home computers. They spend half of the basic training and boot camps on exercise and physical health and still sometimes it isn't enough. The problem starts at home with children eating fast food more than 75% of the time. Start there... then work your way up.

    December 12, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Corpsman

      It's AK variant weapons fired at us and when they are made by the lowest bidder, which they are, they aren't accurate. I have been on that end of a discussion with someone that didn't believe in the same things I stand for. He paniced and missed. I didn't. It isn't necessarily the physical condition in a fight that matters most. It is the getting in and out with days worth of food, water, and ammunition that gets heavy. So please Damian, if you decided to make a comment on something don't waste time unless you are an expert. Otherwise it is only opinions, and everyone has those!

      December 12, 2010 at 01:19 | Report abuse |
  18. Boricua

    I spent over 8 eight years in the military. I struggled with my weight. But the reason I did wasn't because of what the military did, but what I did. I ate too much and drank bad stuff, such as sodas, beers etc.... My lifestyle contributed to my radic weight shift. I was always able to meet my PT test requirements, always motivated, exercise a lot but never was able to keep the weight suggested by the Army. I believe that changing the military weight requirements just to compensate for our own lack of self-control is absurd and dangerous. The military is not a regular 9-5 job! They do provide alternatives, but unless the military folks themselves speak up to change the menu more drastically, nothing will change. To suggest otherwise is to suggest defeat, unless you have served and understand the community the military is, you should not be trying to recommend lowering standards which will cripple and not help to have a better shaped, healthier war fight soldiers. Let's GO ARMY!

    December 12, 2010 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • meemee

      I have never seen a soldier, marine, or sailor, who actually served in combat focused operations, who was fat.

      December 12, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
  19. meemee

    The best exercise for children could be a continuous involving of tract and field. These are individual events with something for nearly everyone. Back in the day our gym class began with a mile run.

    December 12, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Meggles

    I am not surprised at all to hear about Army servicepeople going to drastic measures to make weight. My husband is in the Navy and he will never be within weight regs. He is 5 8' and according to his height he should be 165 pounds to make the weight requirement. His body is naturally muscular and he has big bones. So he has to go the rope-and-choke route, and it is always a huge stress to see if he will pass. He works out regularly year-round and eats a reasonable, healthy diet, but his body type is too thick to pass easily. A couple months before weigh-ins, he begins working out like crazy and eating next to nothing. One spring he was running 10 miles a day, 5 days a week in the evenings around our neighborhood, yet he still was having difficulty passing the tape measurements. He always maxes out the sit-ups on the fit test, and actually tests better than the Navy seal requirements. Meanwhile, the slight, naturally bean-pole guy in his office could barely pass the exercises. It would be great if the military could tailor their weight requirements to body types, instead of a once-size-fits-all approach. So far he has passed the test for the past 7 years; fingers crossed he can pass it until he makes year 20.

    December 12, 2010 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Corpsman

      There are no such thing as 'seal requirements' relating to Navy's standerd semi annual physical test. It is not a one size fits all approach. If you dont fall under the weight requirement you will get tape tested. It measures abdominal fat versus neck thickness. Athletic builds have no problem passing this test. I am in the Navy and can say without a doubt too many overweight people re enlist. I think standards need to be more challenging to make a better Navy overall. Please make sure you understand your topic before commenting. This is one way the general public gets information about the military service. They need to know how thier taxes are being spent and not wasted on thier military. Poor information feeds ignorance!

      December 12, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
  21. frank

    Hmm, seems that when everyone stopped smoking, America got fat. Whats worse? America won many a war with smokers, looks like they cannot say the same about the overweight.

    December 12, 2010 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Tony

    The military should make the weight requirements even more stringent, and not only that, but should also reintroduce corporeal punishment for minor infractions, so as to physically, intellectually and mentally toughen people who need to be made much tougher in all three of those areas, than they now are.

    You can argue with me, but my point is that we can’t argue with history or be against taking actions that get things done, no matter how antiquated or how out of touch they may initially seem. The function of a soldier is to kill on command and/or be killed. Their bodies give them their best chances of surviving through conditions that require wholesale bloodshed, and anyone who disagrees is free to sit back and watch the fall of the Roman Empire happen all over again.

    We have that freedom, and it will end up destroying our Nation as we know it, if we all don’t all wake up and learn to respect it and not abuse the privilige.

    December 13, 2010 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Worf's Baby Mama

    This is the story of my life! I'm in the army and I'm considering drastic measures so I can stay under the weight guidelines. When I go for my physical I am healthy as a horse, but apparently just as big. Weight on my body is distributed unevenly and there's nothing I can do about it. I am heavy in the torso, but I have small legs, arms and neck. I never make the weight and I have to resort to starvation to make the tape. However, when it comes time for PT test, I max the push-ups and the run, and do quite well on the sit-ups. I work out year round, not just a few weeks before the test. I put in about 15-25 miles of running a week and I hit the weights. I ENJOY working out and don't see it as a chore. I also eat pretty well. I just got some bad genetics.

    I think the military should look at its weight guidelines, but I don't mean in a way to reward people who are overweight due to laziness or because they just don't care. We do need healthier eating options on base. Every base is loaded with fried chicken, burgers, and ice cream. My unit orders lunch for us and it is always gigantic plates of pasta, pizza or some other fattening thing. And look at the MREs; they are packed with up to 3000 calories. Great for guys who are doing combat ops, but not for guys who only spend 15 minutes in the field and the rest of the time in the office.

    In Basic we worked out to death but nobody ever talks about how important eating is in maintaining a healthy weight. There is limited focus on daily exercise and no focus on eating properly. All the focus is on "lose the weight or you're out" and mentally assaulting the guy who WANTS to lose the weight but doesn't really know how. Most of America is overweight, so the military should see what type of battle we're fighting. Give us better weapons against it.

    December 13, 2010 at 06:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Rob

    Worf's Baby Mama's experience is really indicative of a number of serious, yet pretty easily solvable, problems within the military. As an outsider to the military, my opinion clearly should be taken with the proper perspective, but I don't see the need to reassess the weight requirements. It's not like humans have gotten any larger in general over the last 100 years. It's simply that we are getting heavier (fatter). Sure, there's going to be the miniscule percentage of people who are extremely healthy and simply carry fat for some reason, but the vast majority of overweight folks are that way because of lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, in the military, those choices are (reasonably or unreasonably? I can't say from experience) seen to affect not only the individual, but the country and national security, as well. I can see where those fears come from and I think they are well warranted.

    The solution is not to set new weight standards, but to empower the soldiers to achieve their goals in healthy way. Clearly, there is room for improvement when soldiers are telling us that it's hard for them to find healthy foods on base. That's just unacceptable. Setting stringent standards and then not setting the soldiers up for success is simply bad management. Don't order tons of pizza and pasta for them to eat! Soldiers are valuable resources, so treat them like it! In addition to actual food, I'd have to imagine that the level of knowledge on how to manage body composition in the military is, on average, just about as low as within the rest of the population. It's just not something we are taught. Basic training or shortly after should include education on how to best keep their systems running at maximum capacity and efficiency. It doesn't take much, really. Especially with motivated people like soldiers, fundamental principles will go a long way. We have to take a stand in this country, and the military can be a big part of it if they take it seriously.

    Rational, effective nutrition for fat loss and long-term health: http://www.NutritionPerfected.com/np-blog.html

    December 13, 2010 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dr. Raines

    I'm in the Navy and this articel is interesting but not necessarily spot on. If any of you have ever been on a ship you know the salad and fruit line is good for about 2-3 days, then you get the old and disgusting fruit and nearly brown salad. it stays that way for about a week or so then they decide to put out new fruit and salad. And then the process repeats itself.
    The cooked food is generally baked, boiled, or fried with all kinds of cakes and pies... It's generally not healthy in the least. The gyms are good, but the food isn't. Perhaps thats where we should look first.

    December 13, 2010 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. AfghanSoldier

    First of all, Corpsman, an AK is accurate within 300 meters....hell most of us would rather carry an AK because of the fact that they almost never malfunction as opposed to the m-4/m-16's we carry now. Secondly, how can you possibly say that the military standards aren't setting up people of different body types for failure? are you sure you're in the service? I work with guys who are "overweight" but have less than 15% body fat....some of these guys have even been flagged for promotions depending on their chain of command.....There are CERTAINLY some slobs in uniform nowadays, but it's not the military that's keeping them fat....it's them...then there are some great servicemen/women who will never get a fair shake because their body chemistries just don't fit into the "cookie cutter" frame of what the military considers fit...
    finally, to the comment earlier, I'm an infantryman and I can assure you, there are fatties in combat arms too.....even the guys in the thick of it need to be careful....

    December 13, 2010 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jim

    The Air Force has set itself up for failure. Originally when they set up the PT program it was to be performed during the duty day if possible. A good majority of units could not provide time for PT so the individual had to exercise during non-duty hours. Years later it was determined that this program was not working well so PT was mandated to be performed during duty hours. Fast forward.... Flying units did not give their personnel this time for PT because the mission comes first. In their infinite wisdom, the Air Force decides the fix for this is to increase the requirements to pass the PT test and exercise has to be performed during non-duty hours. This is absurd!
    The PT program is a great idea but it needs to be part of the duty day....no excuses! It must be mandated from the top down. The commanders of flying units and others must be held accountable and forced to comply.
    For those of you that say,"Shut up and color", after a 12 hour day exercise is not always a huge priority added to all the education, volunteer opportunities, and other areas needed to make you a well rounded Airman. Oh, do not forget family and the 8 hours of sleep needed to stay healthy.
    I realize that not all personnel work such long hours but many do. Thank you for the jobs you do!


    December 13, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Army Soldier

    Corpsman, I am glad you’re in the Navy, this way I’ll never have to work with you, because from the few things you have written, you’re an unhappy guy. Not everyone is a PT stud, such as you, but we fatties as you put it, can pass the PT test, and do quite well on it. Yes the military should reconsider their height/weight standards, as they still think this is 1945 when the average guy was 175 lbs. I am not, never will be, and if needed I will stand by your side and fight off whatever foe we are against, and ill do it happily eating my entire MRE while you watch and think how bad of a person I must be, being deployed 5 times, shootin the enemy, losing friends, and doing what we enlisted to do…

    December 13, 2010 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. soldada

    I am a SSG in the United States Army and although a lot of the arguments made on this website are correct about the mess halls, pt not being mandatory for all, etc. And most people would go to the tape test to solve everything. However, discrepencies have been found with the tape test. It is not always the best method of determining whether a soldier is still in compliance. For example, there are soldiers that are literally bulging out of their uniforms that pass weight, which means that they do not have to be taped. However, just for the h*ll of it, we tape them anyway, and they fail. There are quite a lot of flaws with the tape test which is why it has been changed more than once. By that same token, there are soldiers that you would NEVER guess are their actual weight, get taped and are either on the borderline or fail. It's kind of a shaky thing. I've been in for quite some time and I have seen both scenarios. As far as MREs are concerned, those are made for soldiers that are under intense physical training that will not see a chow hall for a while and need to be fueled for the mission at hand. It is not something that should just be consumed after morning PT. That is all on the soldier if they decide to have a full MRE for breakfast. Height/weight can be a nuissance when it comes to the military...I know.

    December 13, 2010 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. soldada

    Oh...the ones that are taped for giggles volunteer to do it. A lot of them know the flaws in the height/weight system and are lucky that they can get away. Just putting it out there....not making anyone feel bad. Heck, I've volunteered to be tape for fun.

    December 13, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply

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