Obesity in US military surged during pandemic, nearly 10,000 Army soldiers obese, report

In fiscal 2022, the Army failed to make its recruiting goal for the first time, with recruits' weight being a large factor.

Published: April 3, 2023 7:52am

Updated: April 3, 2023 10:27am

Obesity in the U.S. military surged during the pandemic, according to new research. 

The research led by the Center for Health Services Research at the Uniformed Services University found nearly 10,000 active-duty Army soldiers became obese during the pandemic, marked as from February 2019 to June 2021.

The number pushed the military obesity rate to nearly a quarter of the troops studied, with increases found in the Navy and the Marines, according to the Associated Press

"The Army and the other services need to focus on how to bring the forces back to fitness," said Tracey Perez Koehlmoos, the director of the Bethesda, Maryland, center.

Overweight and obese military service member are more likely to be injured and less likely to meet the physical demands of their job.

Koehlmoos told the wire service more-recent data won’t be available until later this year, but there’s no sign that the trend is ending, 

In fiscal 2022, the Army failed to make its recruiting goal for the first time, falling short by 15,000 recruits, or a quarter of the requirement, the wire service also reports.

The failure is largely because three-quarters of Americans 17 to 24 are ineligible for military service for several reasons including extra weight, which is the biggest individual dis-qualifier, according to the report.

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