August 8, 2016

CHANGE: Spooked by obesity trends, the U.S. military is redefining its basic fitness standards.

Pentagon officials intend to publish a new policy later this year, a document expected to have sweeping effects on how the military defines and measures health and fitness. The review comes amid rising concern about obesity. Among civilians, it is shrinking the pool of qualified prospective recruits. And in the active-duty force, a rising number of overweight troops poses risks to readiness and health care costs.

“You can look around and see all the soldiers that are pushing that belly,” said Dr. David Levitsky, a professor of nutritional science and human ecology at Cornell University who has studied military nutrition and obesity. “They have to do something about it.”

There’s worry that the current standards “are at the core of long-simmering controversies that pit questions of fairness against those of military readiness.”

Do we really want a military that’s interested in anything fair?

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