Brit Soldiers Beefy Eaters, Too

UK's military tackles obesity epidemic

Ha ha, Brits, you thought you were so fancy with your Magna Carta and your snaggletoothed royals, but it turns out your military is just as doomed as ours, due to excessive weight gain!

The whole world looked on in scorn several years ago as the American armed forces gradually revealed their secret shame: Many potential recruits were too fat to be considered for active duty, while many others already in the service needed badly to lose weight or risk losing their jobs.

Thousands of troops are struggling to lose weight, and thousands have been booted out of the service in recent years because they couldn't.

However, one of the biggest worries concerns those not even in uniform yet: Nearly 2 out of 10 men and 4 out of 10 women of recruiting age weigh too much to be eligible, a record number for that age group.

Oh, how the British must have laughed, to watch the American president George W. Bush lead us into Mesopotamian battle on the backs of a bunch of pudgy kids. But now the joke's on them, because they too are fighting a deadly war: a War on Obesity.

"The numbers of personnel unable to deploy and concerns about obesity throughout the army are clearly linked to current attitudes towards physical training," states the emergency memo from Major Brian Dupree of the army physical training corps in Wiltshire.

[...] Dupree's report comes three years after the army relaxed its rules to allow recruits with a higher body mass index (BMI) to join after research found that two thirds of British teenagers were too fat to meet fitness requirements. Applicants with a BMI of 32 - two points above the World Health Organisation's definition of obesity - can now enlist.

Wasn't this how the British lost their empire the first time, by growing steadily more corpulent and complacent as their subjects grew sinewy on hate?

At any rate, it's nice that two Anglophone armies fighting in Afghanistan finally have something else in common: the inability to run five minutes without getting winded. In no time at all we'll be booted out of the country and back to figuring out how to conquer Central Asia the way we've conquered the rest of the world: with rock music, beautiful women, and Twinkies.

Nutritionist and physical trainer Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.

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