Fit or fat? According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 70 percent of adults in America are overweight or obese. And based on a recent report, our active duty U.S. military personnel are not immune to the nation’s obesity epidemic. New data disclosed by the Pentagon shows 7.8 percent of the total military force is now classified as overweight or obese, defined by a body mass index, or BMI, greater than 25.
While as a group, military members are far less obese than the overall American adult population, the obesity rate among the military force has risen steadily over the past 15 years. The entire force has seen a jump in obesity since 2001, when 1.6 percent of the troops—about one in every 60—were obese or overweight, to about one in every 13 troops in 2015—a rate of 7.8 percent. Data show the obesity rate varies by job type, with less obesity among combat troops (6.7 percent), and is highest among women, African Americans, Hispanics and older service members.
It’s important for all of us to make health and wellness a priority, and this is especially true of our military personnel who face the rigors of military life. Their jobs demand daily stamina and strength, whether for physical training, walking over rough terrain, or moving quickly on the battlefield to keep themselves and their fellow soldiers out of harm’s way. And a healthy and fit military is essential to our national security.
While these new statistics may not present an immediate cause for concern about our military personnel’s fitness or military readiness, it’s an opportunity to strengthen our resolve. As a chef who is passionate about eating well and equally as passionate about supporting the dedicated men and women who bravely serve our country, I am honored to join forces with Sodexo on a 10-year partnership to make a positive impact on the health and wellness of the people in military communities across the country. Together, we will create nutritious meals that satisfy our troops while helping them maintain healthy and active lifestyles.
I believe that nothing is impossible—especially when it comes to a healthier lifestyle. People can be empowered through fitness and fuel every day. A commitment to healthier eating and exercise habits now can not only give you more energy and enjoyment but also help lead to a lifetime of better health. Together we can fight this battle and win!
What are your thoughts on how we can help our troops maintain a healthy lifestyle? We would love to hear from you below.