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"A Staggering Number Of U.S. Troops Are Fat And Tired" Topic

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683 hits since 3 Oct 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP03 Oct 2018 9:21 p.m. PST

"A 2018 RAND report on health promotion and disease prevention has painted a grim picture of the military's physical fitness and sleep standards.

The study, featuring roughly 18,000 randomly selected participants across each of the service branches, showed that almost 66 percent of service members are considered to be either overweight or obese, based on the military's use of body mass index as a measuring standard.

While the number of overweight service members is a cause for concern, it correlates with the obesity epidemic plaguing the United States, where, as of 2015, one in three young adults are considered too fat to enlist, creating a difficult environment for recruiters to find suitable candidates for military service…."
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66 percent of service members are considered to be either overweight or obese ?!?!?!? Wow….he report uses data from 3 years ago, but you have to wonder if it has gotten worse.

The RAND report is here ….



emckinney03 Oct 2018 10:06 p.m. PST

BMI gets really messed up when people are heavily muscled.

"3. It is physiologically wrong.

It makes no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body. But bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI. Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious movie stars who work out a lot tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese."


I suspect that the rate of obesity among combat infantrynis about zero. I'm trying to think of an Air Force officer that I've seen in the last 2 years who was obese, and I can't remember seeing one. (I used to work at a facility that was essentially part of LAAFB's Space & Missile Systems Command. Whole wings of buildings were devoted to offices for USAF personnel, who were overwhelmingly officers, so I had a pretty large sample to observe.

Oberlindes Sol LIC03 Oct 2018 10:15 p.m. PST

We've seen a steady climb in the obesity rate in the USA over the last 20 years, at least.

It makes me so depressed that I'm going to have another beer. And a bacon doughnut.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Oct 2018 1:43 a.m. PST

Yea, BMI is just silly for very fit, heavily muscled people.

They should just measure their fat. That can be done with a water test.

soledad04 Oct 2018 3:22 a.m. PST

Agree. BMI is misleading for those who train alot. Better to have tests and if you pass the tests it does not matter what you "look" like.

Lion in the Stars04 Oct 2018 3:22 a.m. PST

Let's have fun with an extreme example: Yao Ming. I'm pretty sure we'd all agree that a professional athlete is the farthest thing from 'fat'.

Yao Ming is 7'6" tall and 311lbs. His BMI is 27, considered to be 'overweight'.

Shaquille Oneal is 7'1 tall and 326lbs. His BMI is 31.7, considered to be 'obese'.

For fun, here's me when I left boot camp: 5'"11.5" tall, 192lbs. That's a BMI of 26.8, considered to be 'overweight'. I had a 6-pack showing at the end of a workout, which means my body fat % was less than 8%. I wore a 48" sport coat, had a 30" waist, and a 17" neck (Hello, Spenser!). I was at the maximum allowed weight for my height.

The problem with the Body Mass Index is that it's weight in KG divided by height squared. Not height cubed, or even height^2.5.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP04 Oct 2018 6:14 a.m. PST

They probably had a majority of E-7's and E-8's in the sample.grin

Plus there is no distinction for combat as opposed to non-combat occupations.


Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP04 Oct 2018 7:13 a.m. PST

There is a problem with using the BMI to determine physical fitness. I have a student who just completed his military service. He is built like some super solider on one of those science fiction movies. The muscles on his arms are probably twice the thickness of my leg muscles. And despite the fact that he doesn't seem to have an ounce of fat on him, I imagine give his bulk (which is pure muscle) he would rate very badly using a BMI index. Nevertheless, I pity any enemy soldier who had to face him in hand to hand combat. By the way, if this thread were posted on the Blue Fez, I would be happy to explain why I don't find RAND reports reliable when it comes to certain issues.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Oct 2018 10:59 a.m. PST

Interesting points….


soledad04 Oct 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

One of my workouts is a 250 meter run with a 200 pound dummy. Then three circuits consisting of 15 pull ups 250 m run, 25 hand release burpees and another 250 m run. maximum allowed time 28 minutes. According to BMI I am overweight with a BMI of 29.

Bmi might work but not for people who work out.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Oct 2018 1:38 p.m. PST

My BMI is perfect as far a weight, however I am 4 inchs to short?

Russ Dunaway

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP05 Oct 2018 12:08 a.m. PST

In a survival situation, the heavy ones will outlast the skinny ones, since they have more fat reserves.

Tired Mammal05 Oct 2018 4:22 a.m. PST

"In a survival situation, the heavy ones will outlast the skinny ones, since they have more fat reserves."

Bigger targets though. Tastier too.

On a more serious note If you look at photos from WW2 it is quite noticeable how much thinner the troops were then.

Lion in the Stars05 Oct 2018 10:23 p.m. PST

Well, yeah. Modern military rations are a lot more calorie-dense. WW2 C-rats were just basic canned food.

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