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11 Feb, 2009 18:48

Eat through the war

Eat through the war

As the ongoing American military operation in Iraq is ready to celebrate its 6th anniversary, the Pentagon reports that the number of obese U.S. servicemen has doubled since the years of the Second Gulf War.

Nothing can stop purposeful men from getting what they want. The stress of deployment, the horrors of war and fatigue caused by everyday tensions and, as a result, overwrought nerves; you name it, but the fact is that American soldiers are getting fat.

In general, statistics are as follows. The number of servicemen with an obese diagnose stood at 25.652, or 1.6% of the entire armed forces in 1998. By 2003 it increased to 34,333 (2.1%), and by 2008 the number doubled to 68,786 (4.4%).

Yes, that is America’s national trend, but soldiers just have to do things civilians do not necessarily have to do like saving his own ass on an everyday basis, not to mention special ops and negligible trifles like fitting into uniforms.

There are a lot of factors that make civilian Americans gain weight with fast food and passive leisure time just tops the iceberg which consists mostly of GM products and gluttony – we know very well that a good old hamburger cannot do you wrong – being eaten one at a time.

Still, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, more than 60% of American citizens suffer from adiposity. But why do GIs follow the trend? Or has the U.S. Defence Department awarded a contract to McDonalds to feed American soldiers in Iraq?

Nothing doing. Mess food is still the basics of the American army in Afghanistan and Iraq. A 2005 poll of GIs who served in Iraq shows that most of them place blame on stress and exhaustion. Which means that after being stressed in the battle zone soldiers return from deployment cherishing just one thought: to eat to repletion.

American Federal guidelines classify an individual as being overweight if they have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25, regardless of age or gender. A BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared. Someone 1.8 m and weighing 81.6 kg, for example, has a BMI of just over 25.

But military standards differ from civilian and in the American army it is possible to have a BMI of more than 27 and still be considered in good enough shape. As a result, official military health statistics show that only 20% of all American military personnel are overweight.

“In the past decade among active military members in general, the percent of military members who experienced medical encounters for overweight/obesity has steadily increased; and since 2003, rates of increase have generally accelerated,” said the report published in January.

But situation is not that desperate. The Afghan skies are already swarming with unmanned drones guided by operators resting leisurely in comfortable armchairs on the other side of the globe. Experts say future wars will be conducted by autonomous robots that never get fat.