Obesity Rates Soar Among U.S. Army Soldiers

During the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding lockdowns, obesity rates within the U.S. military experienced a significant increase, as revealed by data released on Sunday.

As reported by AP, within the Army itself, close to 10,000 active-duty soldiers developed obesity between 2019 and 2021, causing the rate to approach nearly one-fourth of the analyzed troops.

Similar upward trends were observed in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as well.

Military to Device Strategies in Enforcing Fitness Levels Among Troops

Tracey Perez Koehlmoos, director of the Uniformed Services University Health Services Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland emphasized, “The Army and the other services need to concentrate on strategies to restore fitness levels among the forces.”

Troops who are overweight or obese have a higher likelihood of sustaining injuries and are less equipped to withstand the physical rigors of their profession. Consequently, shedding the excess weight gained during the pandemic has now become imperative.

Federal research demonstrates that the military faces an annual loss of over 650,000 workdays due to excess weight and obesity-related health issues. Furthermore, the associated health expenses surpass $1.5 billion annually for present and past service members, along with their families.

Concerns Over Implications of Obesity in the Military

According to AP, military leaders have been expressing concerns over the implications of obesity on the U.S. military for over a decade.

However, the lasting effects of the pandemic emphasize the necessity for prompt measures, as articulated by Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, a retired Marine Corps, who co-authored a recent report addressing the issue.

During a November webinar hosted by the American Security Project, a nonprofit think tank, Cheney remarked, “The numbers have not improved. Instead, they are deteriorating progressively, becoming increasingly worse.”

A 2021 survey of 3,000 U.S. adults revealed that 42 percent gained 29 unwanted pounds on average during the pandemic and have subsequently grappled with reverting to their pre-pandemic size.

Overall, 61 percent of American adults reported undesired weight fluctuations, either gains or losses. Among those 61 percent, 42 percent reported an increase in weight.

This article appeared in Right Wing Insider and has been published here with permission.