In 2012, 31% of the Canadian kids between the ages of 5 to 17 were overweight or obese. There is also some alarming statistics stating that from 2007-2009 males between 20 and 29 years old were 47% overweight and obese. Why those statistics you ask? Well they are the next generation of soldiers and it’s really alarming.
Recently, the National Post learned that the Department of National Defence have spent more than $200, 000 for “a dozen or so morbidly obese troops a year to undergo weight-loss operations at private surgery clinics.”
“It’s just a reflection of society today,” said Major Nicole Meszaros, a spokeswoman for Canadian Forces health services. She also said that the surgeries are not a sign of a poor level of physical fitness among those serving in the military. But a survey found in 2008 than nearly 25% of Canadian soldiers had body mass indexes greater than 30, the obesity threshold. Of course in those 25% they are guys who have in great physical shape and are over the 30 index because of muscular mass but unfortunately there is no study stating how many of that 25% are like that. Probably a low percentage.
As I was reading that article I couldn’t believe it! Are we so desperate nowadays that we have to accept the fact that people are getting more and more fat and let them join the Canadian Forces so they get a free weight-loss operation or even get paid to get in a good enough shape to pass the MINIMUM PT requirement of the CF!? Oh hell no!
Army spokeswomen Michelle Tremblay has also affirmed that this change has allow the forces “to recruit highly qualified specialists … who might otherwise not to be able to enrol because of their lack of fitness.” In 2010, over 6 400 recruits started basic training. 700 of them, 11%, had to be put through Warrior Fitness Program. This is about 24.5 million dollars a year spent in salary only for unfit recruits. That program gives up to 4 months to the recruits who can’t pass the PT test to be able to do so. We might be recruiting highly qualified specialists but it is UNACCEPTABLE to let them join in such poor condition. The Canadian Forces is supposedly all about being a soldier first, then a specialists.
The recruitment process is also very long to join the CF and the recruiters give the candidates a physical fitness guide to get them ready for basic training. Applications to join the CF can take up to a year depending on the trade you wish to join. So don’t come here and tell me that you can’t be ready for a PT test when you might have up to a year of waiting before shipping out to basic. There is no excuses to not be able to pass these tests. What makes me even madder is that the people who wishes to join the reserve MUST pass a physical fitness test in a civilian gym, which is paid by the CF. Basically we are not asking a PT test to join the regular forces but we do for the reserve. Where is the logic? Probably lost somewhere in an office at NDHQ in Ottawa.
Once again the National Post reported in July 2013 that: “The auditors found that “fitness and educational levels of recruits in the last five years have been slightly lower than in the past,” while “compared to previous generations, recruits of today are described as harder to motivate.” It clearly shows that more than 10% of the newer recruits don’t really have any motivation to be in a good physical condition prior to start their basic training.
Main photo courtesy: Fashionably Geek