If you thought that pills, yo-yo diets, and liposuction were relegated to the ladies of Hollywood, think again.
A growing trend among Army soldiers is to turn to starvation or the knife – all in an effort to meet the Army’s strict weight standards.
In an interview with the Army Times, one soldier admitted that “Liposuction saved my career – laxatives and starvation before an [Army Physical Fitness Test] sustains my career.”
Unsurprisingly, a recent study conducted by two officers at the Naval Post Graduate school found that nearly one in three Marines have taken extreme measure to loose weight, whether it’s starvation, dehydration, pills, laxatives, or liposuction.
In light of this alarming statistic is the reality that more than a third of soldiers do not meet the current height and weight requirements put forth by the Army.
Of course, failure to meet requirements can pose some serious consequences.
Indeed, between 1992 and 2007 around 24,000 soldiers were discharged for failing to comply with standards outlined in Army Regulation 600-9.
“I don’t think we have a clear understanding how widespread this problem is,” said Col. George Dilly, Medical Command’s chief dietitian and a consultant to the Army surgeon general.
“Soldiers are hiding the fact they are doing this because they don’t want the problem exposed. [Obviously], this is not a long-term strategy. In fact, it’s a very dangerous short-term strategy.”
Perhaps the problem lies within the Army’s strict weight restrictions.
“My [extreme diet behaviors] aren’t the only problem. The Army’s weight standard is,” explained Second Lt. Lane Stover, a soldier that often purged and punished her body to meet requirements.
“Until the Army takes a closer look at the weight regulations and methods for determining body fat, soldiers will resort to extreme measures to ensure they are within their weight requirements.”
Or perhaps, the problem lies with what the Army is feeding its recruits and officers.
The Army has long since had the reputation for serving super dense calorie filled meals to provide adequate amount of calories to soldiers in combat. Gravies, fried chicken, and starchy carbs are the name of the game.
But with the varied types of jobs within the Army structure, perhaps its time to rethink what should be served to soldiers who are not in active combat.
Fortunately, the Army is taking the initiative to change what it’s dishing out for chow, while encourage soldiers to be more active – wherever they are deployed.