Author Topic: Report suggests 3/4 of Canadian Forces personnel are overweight, obese  (Read 13749 times)

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Offline dapaterson

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There have been interesting studies of the Falklands, which suggest that the sprinter physique favoured by some is in fact poorly suited to prolonged combat.  Endurance (measured in days and weeks) is preferable to a no-fat, lean runner's physique.
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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That is my (unscientific) sense, too.

The stocky, fit guy (or gal? Not sure, because of the small sample size that I have been exposed to in my career) but carrying a few extra pounds of cushion does seem to do better over the haul, especially when lack of food becomes an issue.

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I see FSTO has beat me to it, but my personal observation on a whole bunch of both simulated and real ship board fires is that they are a real bag drive.

Wearing bunker gear is no joke. It is heavy and heat exhaustion is a real possibility. AFFF cans weigh around 50lbs each. Hose lengths (empty) are about the same. Charged hoses are double or triple that, not to mention the force of the water has to be counteracted.

All things being equal, being physically fit allows you to do DC longer and more effectively. Equally important is a robust mental attitude.

I have seen overweight folks go down hard fighting fires. I can also recall one lad who many would consider overweight and out of shape do multiple runs on a real fire- he just wouldn't quit.

I concur, firefighting in full bunker gear etc is tiring, as is flood control building permanent shoring and other DC activities.  Helo Crash Rescue FF is an absolute bag drive and it doesn't get easier the older you get.  Certainly, better conditioning makes for easier times of it but how large or small you are weight wise doesn't always predict who's going to quit or see it to the end.

Offline PuckChaser

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The stocky, fit guy (or gal? Not sure, because of the small sample size that I have been exposed to in my career) but carrying a few extra pounds of cushion does seem to do better over the haul, especially when lack of food becomes an issue.

That's the problem focusing in one direction or polar opposite. A guy that can bench press 500lbs who can't run 5km is just as useless as an ultramarathon runner who can't do a pullup. CAF members don't have the luxury of being able to focus on a specific event and train for it, we have to be good at both ends of the spectrum.

Offline Jarnhamar

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That's the problem focusing in one direction or polar opposite. A guy that can bench press 500lbs who can't run 5km is just as useless as an ultramarathon runner who can't do a pullup. CAF members don't have the luxury of being able to focus on a specific event and train for it, we have to be good at both ends of the spectrum.

But who would you want holding the shield next to you in a riot  ;)

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But who would you want holding the shield next to you in a riot  ;)

That's easy......a Correctional Officer. :king:
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Offline Remius

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But who would you want holding the shield next to you in a riot  ;)

I choose Captain America.
Optio

Offline Jarnhamar

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I choose Captain America.

Who would in all likelihood fall under obese with his BMI  ;D

Offline daftandbarmy

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There have been interesting studies of the Falklands, which suggest that the sprinter physique favoured by some is in fact poorly suited to prolonged combat.  Endurance (measured in days and weeks) is preferable to a no-fat, lean runner's physique.

The study had a pretty clear outcome: Special Forces, Parachute Regiment and Commando Brigade personnel were able to hack it, largely because of their ruthless physical selection during recruit training and regular ongoing battle fitness oriented training at the units afterwards.

The others? Not so much.

There were many noises made about trying to upgrade the rest of the Army's fitness to close in on that of the Paras and Marines but, as with most lessons learned in war, it was forgotten in the rush to peacetime. No one wanted to admit that over 70% of the infantry could not do a big march, then fight.

The quote you may be thinking of could be from LCpl Vince Bramley's book, Excursion to Hell, referred to in this article here (p.18 onwards) http://www.seanmmaloney.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/D12-9-2-2E.pdf

3 PARA marched 75 miles in three days across mountainous terrain, each carrying loads upwards of 100lbs, then fought the Battle of Mt Longdon at the end of the hike (the Royal Marines performed similar 'feats of feet'). In the book he mentions that everyone visibly lost weight and those that had more to lose tended to be able to keep going longer. None of these 'heavier' guys would be classed as fat though, that's for sure. Your average PARA is about 5ft 7in tall and usually well under 190lbs... the 'Poison Dwarf Brigade', indeed.

To my knowledge the British have never had any biometric BMI-like BS as part of their fitness programs. It all tends to be performance related, you know, like real war.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Online MilEME09

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Using fitness standards as a proper metric is good, problem with the CF is, the bar has been dropped, and I bet there are many in HQ units that haven't done a PT test in years and account for some of the obese and the morbidly obese. It did blow my mind that there was a morbidly obese group in the CF, if your that fat, you should be medically released, along with the obese. Now the new version of the FORCE test also includes a waist measurement which is a good step IMO, but I've never seen action taken for failure. Then again im in the reserves PT failure these days it's a pat on the back, and better luck next time (of course with your retry afterwards)
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Offline AbdullahD

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Using fitness standards as a proper metric is good, problem with the CF is, the bar has been dropped, and I bet there are many in HQ units that haven't done a PT test in years and account for some of the obese and the morbidly obese. It did blow my mind that there was a morbidly obese group in the CF, if your that fat, you should be medically released, along with the obese. Now the new version of the FORCE test also includes a waist measurement which is a good step IMO, but I've never seen action taken for failure. Then again im in the reserves PT failure these days it's a pat on the back, and better luck next time (of course with your retry afterwards)

You know what is interesting, I consider myself obese albeit others call me husky and I can pass the 'force' test (albeit barely).

But I sure as hell would hate to have someone as unfit as I am, fighting beside me in battle. I think the CF has an unique dilemna, I have been following this thread and I think everyone here is aware of it... but I feel personally, without any expertise, whatsoever that the CF made a wrong move with the force test and lowering the standards.

Make 3x a week 2 hour gym sessions mandatory and follow them, I feel would be more then enough, especially right out of bmq. The CF would have to hire more people to compensate for the lost manpower.. but from what I understand in a time of war, it could save many lives.

I also think a bridging program for large guys like myself would be good too. Instead of full pay, give them $1,000/mo and have them on a 5 day gym program with some misc training included as well, then transfer them to full bmq when they are ready. But then again, should the CF be that responsible for candidates or can it meet recruitment needs if it isn't? (Ps any high ranking chap want to do this for me? Ill be on the first plan out.. i may need 4 months or so of work... before i feel 100% lol)

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Online MilEME09

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I also think a bridging program for large guys like myself would be good too. Instead of full pay, give them $1,000/mo and have them on a 5 day gym program with some misc training included as well, then transfer them to full bmq when they are ready. But then again, should the CF be that responsible for candidates or can it meet recruitment needs if it isn't? (Ps any high ranking chap want to do this for me? Ill be on the first plan out.. i may need 4 months or so of work... before i feel 100% lol)

My musings
Abdullah

I would agree, and I believe there is such a process already, atleast in the reg force, however the problem is I believe the onus is on the member. In my opinion we would get better results if we said "Okay you a MCpl bloggins will have PT together three times a week, and you will meet with a nutritionist once a week" for example, failure to meet those obligations would have repercussions of course.
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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This discussion inevitably creeps up every few years, it's a road to nowhere.  Yes 3/4 of the military is "overweight" if we use BMI as a criteria but then again, so is 90% of Canadian society.  By definition, I'm overweight by about 20lbs and have been since I was an Officer Cadet.  I've run a 13 on the beep test, been able to crank off 80+ push-ups and 20+ chin-ups on a PT test, so yes I'm overweight but not unfit.

Yes there are fatties in the military but that has more to do with the processed garbage they continuously ingest than any sort of PT plan or lack thereof. What's the average university student diet consist of?  Copious amounts of liquor and fast food, the average young private is about the same, no amount of fitness testing and PT plans will change that.

This isn't a military problem, it's a society problem. 

Offline mariomike

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« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 07:56:21 by mariomike »

Offline dapaterson

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This isn't a military problem, it's a society problem.

But the military can and should take steps to mitigate it.  For example, lose the soft drink fountains in dining facilities.  Improve the quality of food in dining halls.  Leverage military cooks to provide nutritional information to sailors/soldiers/air people.

There are tools at hand for the military - but the path of least resistance has been taken ("If there's no Coke in the dining hall, they'll buy it somewhere else, so we should give to to them" comes to mind).
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Offline mariomike

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But the military can and should take steps to mitigate it.  For example, lose the soft drink fountains in dining facilities. 

I read that in the French Foreign Legion before eating, recruits drink large "field cups" of water, and invert the empty cups on their heads to demonstrate the achievement.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 08:46:33 by mariomike »

Offline Lumber

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 :off topic:

I just realized that his profile name is Sea King "Tacco", and not "Taco"... I've been saying "Taco" in my head this whole time...

The fitness aspect of the PRO DC response has been noted.

Cool!... and?... is that all?... Can you elaborate?
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Online FSTO

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:off topic:

I just realized that his profile name is Sea King "Tacco", and not "Taco"... I've been saying "Taco" in my head this whole time...

Cool!... and?... is that all?... Can you elaborate?

At a NAVRES Command Conference the "First Sea Llyod" said that the fitness of the sailors was an issue in fighting the fire. The 1 hr per day of PT would be enforced in the RCN as a result. I have seen nothing official yet. But at my unit, all of our full time staff use that 1 hr per day. Although we are only 9 in number, I would wager we are one of the fittest FTS in NAVRES.

Offline Lumber

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At a NAVRES Command Conference the "First Sea Llyod" said that the fitness of the sailors was an issue in fighting the fire. The 1 hr per day of PT would be enforced in the RCN as a result. I have seen nothing official yet. But at my unit, all of our full time staff use that 1 hr per day. Although we are only 9 in number, I would wager we are one of the fittest FTS in NAVRES.

Interesting then that he didn't mention fitness once when he visited us back in September.

Well I can't speak for the other NRDs, but you're certainly trumping us.

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Online Chief Stoker

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At a NAVRES Command Conference the "First Sea Llyod" said that the fitness of the sailors was an issue in fighting the fire. The 1 hr per day of PT would be enforced in the RCN as a result. I have seen nothing official yet. But at my unit, all of our full time staff use that 1 hr per day. Although we are only 9 in number, I would wager we are one of the fittest FTS in NAVRES.

From my perspective of currently training sailors to fight fires in the fleet I really haven't seen a problem with sailors fitness levels affecting their ability to carry out a sustained attack on a fire. If anything I found is that its the sailors size with skinny sailors going down due to a heat injury then a larger sailor that carries on.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

كافر

Online Eagle Eye View

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Recently I've been eating in mess hall, and frankly I must say I've been impressed by the quality and the taste of the food. The mess introduced the "blue menu" which consist of healthy choices. No more burgers, no more pizzas (except veggie one), no more fries etc. They also introduced quinoa, kale, smoothies and use healthier ingredients to cook with. Again I think it's a step forward in the right direction since loosing the belly starts at the kitchen.
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Offline Journeyman

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The mess introduced the "blue menu" .... quinoa, kale, smoothies ....
I believe that's the "pink"  menu.    :whistle:
I even read works I disagree with;  life outside  an ideological echo chamber.

Online Eagle Eye View

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Maybe, blue/pink. Looks healthy to me.
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Offline George Wallace

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At a NAVRES Command Conference the "First Sea Llyod" said that the fitness of the sailors was an issue in fighting the fire. The 1 hr per day of PT would be enforced in the RCN as a result. I have seen nothing official yet. But at my unit, all of our full time staff use that 1 hr per day. Although we are only 9 in number, I would wager we are one of the fittest FTS in NAVRES.

I see you threw down the gantlet as a challenge there....... [:D
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Offline Lumber

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I see you threw down the gantlet as a challenge there....... [:D

I'm not biting.
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