An Army Times article reported this week that soldiers are taking drastic steps to meet the military’s weight standards. Soldiers have admitted to taking diet pills and laxatives, starving themselves and getting liposuction in order to meet what some see as impossibly low weight standards.
“Liposuction saved my career — laxatives and starvation before a PFT sustains my career,” an anonymous soldier told the weekly paper. “I, for one, can attest that soldiers are using liposuction, laxatives and starvation to meet height and weight standards. I did, do and still do.”
Almost half of all uniformed men and women in the US Army do not meet the weight standards, according to a 2021 military fitness report, and those officers are then made to use tape measurements to determine body fat percentage. If the percentages are too high, the soldiers cannot earn promotions or hold leadership roles. A further failure to lose weight is grounds for job loss. More than 24,000 soldiers were discharged between 1992 and 2021 for failure to meet weight standards.
“I have been on a roller coaster of gains and losses for half my military career,” one lieutenant colonel told the Army Times. “I have considered lipo, and I have certainly starved myself, dieted on only bread and water, or other similar extreme diets to make weight or tape … And it is no secret to any leader in the military what some soldiers will do to conform to standards that have been set.”
Many soldiers have complained that the standards are based on the 1932 MetLife tables, which were scrapped more than a decade ago. The current waist size cut off is said to be 37.5 inches.
Do you find it disturbing our army is taking weight loss to such extremes, or is this only an issue because obesity rates are so high?