A Defense Department study found nearly 30 percent of American troops are overweight.
While the President throws out one-liners of being “locked and loaded,” and “We are by far the strongest military in the world,” America’s military happens to be the fattest in the world.
Beyond overweight, studies found that a shocking 22 percent of U.S. Navy sailors are obese.
While the Navy’s waistline figures are the biggest, 18 percent of the Air Force, 17 percent of the Army, and 8.3 percent of the Marine Corps are obese.
Can’t Fight Fat
Not only has the U.S. military not won a war since WW II (with the Russians, which is never mentioned in U.S. media), the Pentagon can’t even defeat the growing obesity trend.
They’ve been aware of the exploding weight problem for years, but the programs they devised and instituted have miserably failed.
Beyond the heavyweight issue impacting on our military’s physical performance and military readiness, its consequences are deadly.
Being obese and overweight is tied to long-term health issues such as coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension.
Fat and tired, and wrought with PTSD and other related psychological disorders, troops are turning to energy drinks to get through their daily drills and military preparation.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concludes the “Department of Defense spends about $1.5 billion annually in obesity-related health care costs for current and former service members and their families, as well as costs to replace unfit personnel.”
Commenting on the CDC study, retired Air Force Gen. Richard E. Hawley said, “In the civilian world, unfit or overweight employees can impact the bottom line. But in our line of work, lives are on the line and our national security is at stake.”
A 2018 RAND Report found some 66 percent of all service members are considered to be either overweight or obese.
Facing a troop shortage, some two-thirds of potential recruits are too heavy to enlist.
Time for a Fat Tax?
The 2018 Milken Institute study, “America’s Obesity Crisis: The Health and Economic Costs of Excess,” found that in 2016, chronic diseases driven by the risk factor of obesity and overweight accounted for $480.7 billion in direct health care costs in the U.S., with an additional $1.24 trillion in indirect costs due to lost economic productivity.
The total cost of chronic diseases due to obesity and being overweight was $1.72 trillion – equivalent to 9.3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.
Obesity as a risk factor is by far the greatest contributor to the burden of chronic diseases in the U.S., accounting for 47.1 percent of the total cost of chronic diseases nationwide.
Indeed, America, accounting for just 5 percent of the world’s population, is truly #1, weighing in with 13 percent of the total world overweight and obese people.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: As stated by General Hawley, “In the civilian world, unfit or overweight employees can impact the bottom line.”
Unquestionably, as evidenced by military and civilian studies, addiction to processed, low quality junk food and lack of proper exercise have significant health consequences.
The More You Weigh, The More You Pay
With the “Fat Tax” I propose, “The More You Weigh, the More you Pay.”
Those who do what it takes to stay in shape will pay less in taxes than those who are obese and grossly overweight, since, as studies conclude, their habits have greatly increased medical care costs.
Of course, there should be exemptions for people with genetic, congenital health issues and psychological issues that cannot be controlled with diet and exercise.
On the OnTrendpreneur® side of the deal, there are numerous opportunities to design new product lines for and provide services to the very overweight and obese, who either won’t or can’t lose weight… as well as for those who are ready to make the commitment to slim down.