OTTAWA — Canada has often been criticized for failing to pull its weight as a military partner in organizations like NATO because of its relatively low level of defense spending.

But it’s a weight problem of another kind that’s dogging the Canadian Armed Forces. Many members of the military are fat, and authorities aren’t sure what to do about it.

According to a recently published survey on health and lifestyle conducted by the Canadian military, 49 percent of all Regular Force personnel were considered overweight and 25 percent were obese, based on body mass index. This included 6.1 percent of personnel considered morbidly obese.

The survey, based on self-reporting done by a sample of military personnel in 2013-14, showed a continued increase in obesity levels from earlier surveys. The report’s authors blamed part of the problem on excessive sitting and poor eating habits. Regular Force personnel reported spending an average of 30.5 hours a week in sedentary activities, an increase of 6.35 hours from 2004, the report said.

According to the survey, 17.4 percent of Canadian Armed Forces personnel reported being unable to deploy overseas because of health problems, including 25 percent of those considered obese.

In the U.S., the Pentagon is also reportedly concerned about excess weight among its personnel. According to a recent report in the Military Times, 7.8 percent of the U.S. military is considered overweight.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: