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‘Too fat to fight’: French army ‘extremely vigilant’ to rising obesity

The French army is “extremely vigilant” regarding obesity, a problem from which it has “little chance” of avoiding, Army Surgeon General Jacques Margerie said on Thursday during a visit to Brest (Finistère).

“The American army will face this problem. And we are also extremely vigilant,” said the chief director of the Armed Forces Health Service (AFS), commenting on press articles on this matter.

“This is a public health reality, there is little chance and little risk that we will avoid these problems,” he added during a meeting with the press at the Clermont-Tonnerre Army Teaching Hospital. “Despite the efforts that can be made to prevent unhealthy food, cigarettes and sedentary lifestyles, the French army is a reflection of French society. Armies are an image of the society from which they come.”

36% of employees are overweight

According to a study published by the American Journal of Research, among the population ages 17 to 42 assigned to serve in the U.S. military, only one in three Americans is fit for combat based on body mass index (BMI) and physical activity. Preventive medicine in September 2022. A phenomenon described as “Too fat to fight”, according to the weekly Le Point.

“If for war you need to have a certain agility, run fast enough and withstand temperatures of -15°C in a trench in the Ukraine, then it is definitely better to be in good health,” commented Jacques Margerie.

“We have to take people who are maybe a little overweight, maybe can’t run, can’t play sports (…) and get them to have a healthy lifestyle, a level of fitness that means they stay healthy until then. “while it’s possible,” he added.

In France, the prevalence of obesity was estimated at 9.6% in the armed forces in 2017, with 36.1% of personnel considered overweight, according to a dissertation summary published on the website of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. It was in the national gendarmerie that the BMI was the highest: half of the personnel were overweight (50.1%).

Source: Le Parisien

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