“Too fat to fight”: the French army “extremely vigilant” to the increase in obesity

“Too fat to fight”: the French army “extremely vigilant” to the increase in obesity


The French army is “extremely vigilant” on obesitya problem from which it has “little chance” of escaping, said Thursday the surgeon general of the armies Jacques Margery, during a visit to Brest (Finistère).

The American army will be faced with this problem. And we too are extremely vigilant,” declared the central director of the Armed Forces Health Service (SSA), commenting on press articles on this issue.

“It is a public health reality, there is little chance and little risk that we will escape these problems,” he added, during a meeting with the press at the Clermont-Tonnerre army training hospital. “Despite the care we may take in organizing prevention against junk food, cigarettes, physical inactivity, the French army is the image of French society. Armies are the image of the society from which they come.”

36% of the workforce overweight

Of the population of age to serve in the US army (17-42 years), only one in three Americans would be fit to fight based on their body mass index (BMI) and physical activity, according to a study published by the American Journal of preventive medicine in September 2022. A phenomenon described as “Too fat to fight”, according to the weekly Point.

“If going to war requires having a certain agility, running fast enough and resisting temperatures of -15°C in a trench in Ukraine, it’s definitely better to be in good health” , commented Jacques Margery.

“It’s up to us to take people perhaps with a slightly overweightperhaps not able to run, to play sports (…) and to encourage them to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a level of fitness which ensures that they remain in good health as long as possible,” he said. he adds.

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


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