Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Perspective: Recruits' fitness weighs on military

The military is joining the fight against fat. The pool of recruits fit enough to enlist is shrinking and troops' waistlines are expanding, a reflection of the nation's battle with obesity.

Almost one-third of 18-year-olds who applied for service in all branches of the military in 2005 were overweight, according to a recent report by the Army. The share of applicants who were obese doubled to 6% from 1996 to 2005.

"We've been concerned about this for a while," says Col. Gaston Bathalon, deputy commander at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. The issue is magnified now because the Army is struggling to meet its recruitment goals at a time when its ranks are strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Read the rest at USA Today