Over 2,500 members of the Royal Navy have a BMI of over 30, making them technically obese according to new Freedom of Information figures.
The new statistics revealed the Navy to be the heaviest service, with 7.8 per cent of serving sailors, marines, and officers classifying as obese, reports the Plymouth Herald.
Remarkably, the least obese service is the Royal Air Force, where 1,551 (4.6 per cent) were seriously overweight, a fact that will do nothing to calm inter-service rivalry.
Figures for Army obesity were made public in July, with over 30,000 soldiers supposedly putting their health at risk due to their weight, and 5,828, or 6.7 per cent being technically obese.
The military offers three cooked meals a day to troops when possible, recognising the very important morale benefits wholesome food brings. Although there are healthy options, soldiers are not always easy to resist.
The Daily Star reported the remarks of one senior officer who said of the obesity crisis: “Troops can have a fry-up for breakfast followed by pie and chips for lunch and burger and chips for dinner every day if they want.
“But they are going to put on weight and that is going to make it harder to pass fitness tests. Obesity is now a major problem in society and it is having an impact on the armed forces as well.
“We are educating troops’ eating habits and offer salads at every meal time but we can’t and won’t tell them what to eat”.
Although it has not always been the case, sailors are now required to take annual fitness tests through their careers, with those unable to hit the required level kicked out of the service. Sailors are given four warnings over the course of more than a year before they are sent on to civvy street, with each subsequent failure to improve their standard of fitness filed in their permanent record.
Over the past three years, some 32,000 have failed their fitness tests across three services, but the majority went on to improve. In the past eight years, only 68 have passed four warnings without improvement and have been released from service.
Breitbart London reported in March that the new catering regime on many Army bases had contributed to the problem of fat soldiers. The old system of army cook-houses providing sustenance to soldiers was replaced with the controversial pay-as-you-dine system in 2006, with private contractors brought in to serve meals. As prices increased, many soldiers chose to eat off-base – at unhealthy takeaways clustered around barracks gates.
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