According to Proquest Central, a significant number of soldiers in the United States Army fell from being healthy to being overweight during the pandemic.
Pandemic lockdowns saw an increase in the number of obese service personnel by approximately 10,000 people.
In 2017, more than 17% of Army personnel were classified as obese using their body mass index (BMI). The problem was made worse by COVI9-19 lockdowns which, according to the study, contributed to “limiting movement” and “restricting regular military activities.”
The study analyzed active-duty U.S. Army troops from the Military Health System Data Repository and calculated BMI between February 2019 and January 2020. It also compared it with pandemic timelines from September 2020 to June 2021.
The study included 191,894 soldiers. It showed a 5% rise and a 27% change for the obesity category. These are “significant” or “absolute,” changes that occurred during the pandemic.
26.7% went from being in “health” to “overweight during that period. 15.6% also went from being “overweight” and “obese.”
Obesity is defined as “grossly exceeding the recommended standards” (usually due to the accumulation of excessive FATS in the body).
This means that the U.S. Army’s obese population grew by approximately 10,000 soldiers in this study, an increase that was 18.2% of all the cohorts before the pandemic.
This figure represents between 35,000 and 45,000 of the approximately 192,000 active-duty obese personnel.
Young white females and lower-ranking soldiers were the most affected in the study.
According to the study, “special intervention programs” should be a priority for the U.S. Army.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than a third (33%) of 17-24-year-olds are too overweight to be in the military. The Department of Defense loses approximately $103 million each year due to overweight and obese active-duty military personnel.