You might have wanted to pick a fight with the Canadian Military in 2007 to 2008. Only 29% were of normal weight. The rest were overweight or obese. That's what the sampling of 3,700 full time members showed. The obese folks were unlikely to deploy on missions. Unless they were to raid fridges. One supposes they might not squeeze into tanks or cockpits. For sure, flying on a commercial airline with their sardine packed seats, to get to the field of battle in balmy climes, would be out.
These operations give a new, literal, definition for "thinning of the ranks."
What accounts for the state of the unit? Perhaps the military police should look at sub-par dietary choices and a lack of exercise as being prime suspects. And perhaps someone should invent marching...
An astounding 80% of the members had "very sedentary" jobs. Talk about a top heavy staff. Perhaps fewer bureaucrats and far more brawlers might help.
Back in 2007 the military conducted a national physical fitness test - the first in ten years. They might want to conduct these more frequently, say every five. They might also want to ensure they stay pals with the USA so they don't have to use the four second-hand submarines they bought from Britain that don't work or fly the new jets they have been trying to buy, and get built, for years now. They also better hope Putin is happy having swiped Crimea. If he turns his full attention to North Pole energy-potential booty... will the Canadian Rangers, a volunteer mix of about 5,000 Inuit, Métis, and non-Aboriginals, supplied with a Canadian Ranger sweatshirt, safety vest, and a Lee-Enfield rifle, when not using their own personally-supplied, but reimbursed, snowmobiles – be able to shoo the ex-Soviet scallywags out of their part of the Arctic? The Rangers must be in pretty good shape from shivering like crazy in that frigid, rigid anti-hell hole of the world. Shivering burns calories.
Are fat soldiers a national threat to safety and security? You'd have to think so. Fortunately, other than the Canadian government's staunch support of Israel - which pisses off many - it doesn't go out of its way to poke sticks in the eyes of others. Its contributions to NATO are pretty miserly, despite the country's economic heft. It did fight in Kandahar province in the south of Afghanistan - where resistance was fierce, but that mission is over now. Currently there is no mission on the horizon where the few fit, and many fat, fighters are needed.
Aah, but Canada is full of snow. And shoveling that stuff is onerous. Perhaps the forces could help clear driveways and roads. They've done it once before.
Remember when Toronto mayor, Mel Lastman, pleaded for the military to shovel the white powder after Canada's largest city was dumped on in early 1999? The military, good boy-scouts that they were, gave 400+ of its best to help shovel the snow out of “TO”. Perhaps they could have lost some collective weight if they used only shovels and spades and not plows and Bisons – mini vehicles that could get into narrow places where plows couldn't. No doubt the fat cat bureaucrats would have favored sitting on their duffs telling everybody the spring season would solve all. Total “Snow Job.”
Back to the real job, or jobs, at hand. So, 12 or 13 of the largest Canucks get the surgery. They are defined as morbidly obese. Does political correctness prevent others from remarking, say 50 pounds before the morbidly point, that one is beginning to pack on more pounds than a polar bear on a seal fest? The forces fork over 16 to 18k for each vertical sleeve, gastric banding, or gastric bypass surgical operation.
Canada is not alone in the corpulence of its corps. Germany had way too many porker patrollers back in 2001. It declared "war" on the waisted wayward types. By 2008 the battle was decidedly un-won. 40% of their soldiers between 18 and 29 weighed too much. 35% of the civilians there were in the same sinking boat. The Americans need 190,000 bodies every year to replace those retiring. A full 27 percent of American adults are too overweight to be admitted. Picking from an arbitrarily defined smaller pool of eligible employees is never good for quality control, no matter what the job.
A glance at the first page of the Canadian Armed Forces website shows an article on the stigma of mental illness, but nothing on the sad-sack shape its workers. Apparently the forces hope 13 weeks of basic training will whip the out-of-shape recruits into shape. Pushups, sit ups, and running are three core exertions. They are to build strength, speed, and stamina. They train in the military clothing, no big shock there, but they also dive and swim in their clothing. Orders must be followed. And the obstacle course must be beat. And there is a five day four night mock-operation test to top it all off. Frankly, it would seem inconceivable for a portly person not to shape up and slim down what with all the barking and hectoring of instructors “encouraging” the newcomers to find an extra gear.
So if the Canadian Forces Basic Training is up to snuff, the decline into obesity, and the rise of the rotund, comes after the training ends. Why are so many jobs in the Canadian military sedentary? What gives?