According to statistics published on Sunday, the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing lockdowns caused an increase in obesity rates among U.S. military personnel.
According to the AP, nearly 10,000 active duty soldiers in the Army alone acquired obesity from February 2019 to June 2021, bringing the incidence to almost 25% of the soldiers under study. There were increases seen in the U.S. Navy as well as the Marines also.
According to Tracey Perez Koehlmoos, head of the Center for Health Services Research at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, who oversaw the study, “The Army and the other services must zero in on finding ways to return the forces to previous levels of fitness.”
The pandemic pounds will now have to come off because overweight and obese soldiers are more inclined to suffer injuries and are less likely to be able to withstand the hard rigors of their line of work.
According to government studies, the military loses more than 650,000 workdays annually due to obesity, and the medical expenses for current and past service members as well as their families related to obesity surpass $1.5 billion annually.
According to the AP, military leaders have been repeatedly warning about the effects of obesity on the American military for more than ten years. However, retired Marine Corps Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, who co-wrote a recent report on the issue, said that urgent action is now required due to the pandemic’s continuing effects.
Cheney claimed in a webinar presented by the nonprofit think group American Security Project in November that “the numbers have not improved. They just keep getting worse and worse,”
Weight gain was evident throughout the population, as Breitbart News noted, during the lockdowns.
According to a poll of 3,000 U.S. adults conducted in 2021, 42% battled to regain their former weight after gaining an average of 29 extra pounds during the epidemic.
Overall, 61 percent of American adults reported unintended weight increase or loss, with weight rise being recorded by 42 percent of those 61 percent.
The news of unprecedented weight increase among the forces coincides with the Army’s admission this week that recruiting was an issue and its announcement of an unheard-of decrease in force size that would reduce the active duty Army to its smallest size since World War II.
Obesity, fitness, and mental health problems are the main recruitment barring conditions.