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Under intense pressure to trim its budget, the Army is dismissing a rising number of soldiers who do not meet its fitness standards, drawing from a growing pool of troops grappling with obesity.
Obesity is now the leading cause of ineligibility for people who want to join the Army, according to military officials, who see expanding waistlines in the warrior corps as a national security concern.
Between 1998 and 2010, the number of active-duty military personnel deemed overweight or obese more than tripled. In 2010, 86,186 troops, or 5.3 percent of the force, received at least one clinical diagnosis as overweight or obese, according to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.
The trend has prompted the military to reexamine its training programs and is driving commanders to weed out soldiers deemed unfit to fight. “A healthy and fit force is essential to national security,” said Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman. “Our service members must be physically prepared to deploy on a moment’s notice anywhere on the globe to extremely austere and demanding conditions.”
Read more at Washington Post