Statistics reporting from March 2011 to March 2014 state that more than 22,000 British troops have been found to be overweight. In fact, nearly half of all British soldiers on active duty have been found to be overweight, with 19 percent of them being obese.
According to the Ministry of Defence, tens of thousands of serving military personnel are at risk of health problems due to their obesity, such as shortness of breath, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Additionally, more than five soldiers a day are diagnosed with heart illnesses!
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Though the Ministry of Defence has said that these figures only represent 11 percent of serving army personnel, information reveals that a good portion of soldiers have been failing the army’s basic fitness test.
Over the past three years, 32,419 soldiers have failed the army’s basic fitness test. Female soldiers, under the age of 30, are required to complete 50 sit-ups and 21 press-ups in two minutes, and run 1.5 miles under 13 minutes; male soldiers, under the age of 30, must be able to complete 50 sit-ups and 44 press-ups in two minutes, and run 1.5 miles within a 10 minute and 30 second time period. Additionally, once a year, troops are required to complete an eight-mile march in less than two hours carrying a rucksack that can weigh up to 25kg.
Soldiers serving under the Royal Regiment of Scotland have failed 630 fitness tests in the last three years. Soldiers serving under the Royal Highland Fusiliers have failed 170 fitness tests; and soldiers serving under the Black Watch have failed 120 fitness tests.
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Personal fitness tests are taken and logged every half year, and in March 2009, less than 70 percent of serving soldiers passed.
However, soldiers who fail a fitness test are able to retake it, but if they continue to fail, they can be discharged from the army. In 2011 alone, 13 soldiers were discharged from the army for obesity, and since 2002, more than 50 troops have been discharged.
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Sources: Yahoo, International Business Times, Daily Mail and The Independent