Author Topic: Report suggests 3/4 of Canadian Forces personnel are overweight, obese  (Read 12741 times)

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Offline MilEME09

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Report suggests three-quarters of Canadian Forces personnel are overweight, obese


Three-quarters of Canadian Forces personnel are overweight or obese, a new report suggests, although the authors caution those numbers may be skewed by soldiers with high muscle mass.

The figures are contained in the latest edition of the department’s Health and Lifestyle Information Survey (HLIS), which covers the 2013/2014 year.

    “Based on self-reported height and weight, 49 per cent of personnel were classified as overweight and another 25 per cent were classified as obese,” the report reads.

Among the overweight group, high muscle mass “may account for a proportion” of the members who found themselves in that category.

Being overweight based on the body mass index (BMI) scale means you’re heavier than recommended for your height, but many soldiers may simply be very muscular. The BMI of a very muscular person could easily be in the overweight/obese range even though their body has very little fat.

The same can’t be said for the obese, or morbidly obese, personnel who were surveyed.

    “The vast majority of males and females with an obese BMI perceived themselves as carrying excess body fat,” says the report. “High muscle mass could, therefore, explain some cases of overweightness in males, but is unlikely to account for many cases of obesity in either males or females.”

Overall, the proportion of obese Canadian Forces members has increased nearly five per cent since 2004. The proportion of people classified as morbidly obese also jumped, from 3.6 to six per cent, in the same time span.

The HLIS was mailed out to 4,312 Canadian Forces personnel in 2013 who had been randomly selected from an overall population of 56,574. The data were then weighted to reflect the age, sex, and rank distribution of the 2013 regular force personnel.
Less smoking, but not enough veggies

The report contained some good news when it came to smoking and physical activity. The number of smokers decreased from 23 per cent in 2008-2009 to 17.6 per cent in 2013-2014, and the proportion of physically active members increased from 78.7 per cent to 85.2 per cent in the same period.

But when it comes to diet, the authors again found themselves facing bad news.

A full 83.3 per cent of Regular Force personnel reported that their eating habits were good, very good, or excellent, the report notes.

“However, only 28.7 per cent of personnel ate vegetables and fruits more than six times per day … Furthermore, 42.4 per cent of Regular Force personnel had skipped breakfast at least twice in the last week, and 52.2 per cent of personnel underestimated Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for vegetable and fruit intake.”

    Those numbers suggest “a notable nutritional knowledge gap” in Canada’s military, the report concludes.

Binge drinking still a problem

The HLIS also examined issues like excessive drinking and mental health problems.

The report states that while there’s been little change in the percentage of personnel engaged in harmful drinking over the past few years, “a substantial proportion of personnel are still engaged in high risk/harmful drinking behaviours including binge drinking.”

The authors suggest “continued efforts” to promote responsible drinking.

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), which was included as part of the broader survey, showed that 20 per cent (or one-fifth) of personnel have “harmful or hazardous drinking behaviours.” That’s up from 15.7 per cent  in 2004

Around 17.1 per cent of Regular Force personnel sought help for a mental health problem in the 12 months before filling out the survey, which was slightly more than in 2004. Another 15 per cent said they felt the need for mental health care, but did not receive it over the past year.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

While great that they recognize that some of the over weight catagory could be due to those with high muscle mass, I'm rather appalled but not shocked at the obesity percentage.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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While great that they recognize that some of the over weight catagory could be due to those with high muscle mass, I'm rather appalled but not shocked at the obesity percentage.

Yeah... high muscle mass... we'll go with that.
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Offline PuckChaser

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If I gained 10 lbs, my BMI is overweight range. There is no possible way my weight is unhealthy. BMI is a terrible predictor. I'm willing to bet probably half of the overweight range are just super fit pers. The telling statistic is the 25% that are obese, while we make fitness tests easier and easier, and provide crap food at CAF kitchens.

To make this a better survey, they should have cross referenced BMI with fitness test scores. Then we'd really know how bad the situation is.

Offline George Wallace

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If I gained 10 lbs, my BMI is overweight range. There is no possible way my weight is unhealthy. BMI is a terrible predictor. I'm willing to bet probably half of the overweight range are just super fit pers. The telling statistic is the 25% that are obese, while we make fitness tests easier and easier, and provide crap food at CAF kitchens.

To make this a better survey, they should have cross referenced BMI with fitness test scores. Then we'd really know how bad the situation is.


 >:D   But with lower standards in fitness tests, that would be less than your desired effect.
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Offline caocao

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Lots of people with high muscle mass in the NCR.

  :sarcasm:

Offline ModlrMike

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7% sample size in a population where the primary metric is known to be inaccurate.

I think I will reserve judgment on the results.
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Offline Haggis

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Let's step back 25 years and bring back the BMI as a predictor of employability and career potential.  Get rid of everyone who is determined to be obese or higher by the BMI regardless of body composition.  I'm 5'9 and 200 lbs (BMI 29.5) and my kit is ready to go back to QM just to set the example.
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Offline ballz

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To make this a better survey, they should have cross referenced BMI with fitness test scores. Then we'd really know how bad the situation is.

As part of the FORCE test, they are now measuring everybody's waist size. They *SHOULD* be measuring hip circumference as well, so that the waist-to-hip ratio can be calculated. This would be a fairly accurate way to judge the "overweight-ness" of the Canadian Armed Forces as the waist-to-hip ratio weighs the persons waist circumference (i.e. stored fat) against their hip circumference (i.e. bone / muscle mass). They wouldn't need to do surveys because 95% of the population's data would be recorded every year and the statistic could be calculated automatically.

At 5'10", 205 lbs, I am one of those that is contributing to our overweight-ness using the BMI. However, my waist-to-hip ratio is in the health range which makes perfect sense as I do have a wider /stockier build but did get Gold on the FORCE test and do participate in triathlons and martial arts on a regular basis.
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Offline ModlrMike

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As part of the FORCE test, they are now measuring everybody's waist size. They *SHOULD* be measuring hip circumference as well, so that the waist-to-hip ratio can be calculated. This would be a fairly accurate way to judge the "overweight-ness" of the Canadian Armed Forces as the waist-to-hip ratio weighs the persons waist circumference (i.e. stored fat) against their hip circumference (i.e. bone / muscle mass). They wouldn't need to do surveys because 95% of the population's data would be recorded every year and the statistic could be calculated automatically.

Very attainable. The resultant ratio could be scored green, yellow, red, and factored into the overall fitness profile.
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Offline Tcm621

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Yeah... high muscle mass... we'll go with that.
I have been "overweight"  according to the BMI since high school. And I was 170 pounds in highschool with a six pack. The BMI is useless as an accurate measure of health or fitness.

While no one would argue that we don't have a fair number of very fat people in the CAF, we do have a lot of muscular ones as well. The BMI treats them the same.

Coincidentally we were discussing this at work last night. The fact that the CAF requires us to be fit yet units are unwilling to provide opportunities to gain and maintain that fitness. We are always too busy for PT. The army is better but the navy and air force are still lagging behind in adhering to unit Pt requirements.

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Offline ueo

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Long time ago, I was threatened with immediate release by a grotesquely over weight MO (my BMI- 28, his measured in tons). Challenged this decision and was "dunk tested" at the local uni Physio wing and found to be acceptable. As an infantry man I could Fight, F*** and drag a truck. How many good people did we lose due to an over zealous application of a stooooopid rule by some chairborne ranger?
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Let's step back 25 years and bring back the BMI as a predictor of employability and career potential.  Get rid of everyone who is determined to be obese or higher by the BMI regardless of body composition. 

Good God, no!  We already spend far too much in resources replying to human rights complaints for policies that have not already been identified as not being a bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR).  BMI was not used  "as a predictor of employability and career potential" but rather as an indicator of health and fitness.  Though there may not have been any specific CHRT rulings (or at least I didn't find any by cursory search) that refuted the use of BMI by the CAF in career decisions, my understanding is that BMI fell by the wayside because the writing was on the wall - it could not be defended as a BFOR.

Oh, re-read your post and it left me wondering.  Were you being sarcastic?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 01:50:46 by Blackadder1916 »
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Offline Haggis

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Oh, re-read your post and it left me wondering.  Were you being sarcastic?

Very much so.  Nonetheless, I know some good solders from those days who fell victim to the BMI crusaders.
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Offline MCG

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"The vast majority of males and females with an obese BMI perceived themselves as carrying excess body fat"
This is probably a sign that we should not dismiss the results as primarily an inaccuracy of the BMI metric itself.

You might be able to look around the battalion and see a whole bunch of guys who spend three days a week in PT gear and all their time is lifting.  But you have to remember that the battalion is not a microcosm of the CAF.  It is not even a microcosm of the Army.

We do not have a culture of fitness in the CAF.  We have a culture of cancel PT to get other things done.  We have a culture of don't schedule PT to keep the course shorter.  Cookies are the official food of command posts in the field.  We have a lot of room to improve.

Offline kev994

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I'm currently working with the USCG, twice a year everyone has to weigh in. They have a BMI threshold for screening, if you're not within that they start measuring, if you don't pass that they move to either the fat measuring pinchers or a water displacement test. If you don't pass that they give you a year to get in shape or they give you the boot.
That said, I'm not sure such a test would pass the charter for Canada.

Offline Good2Golf

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This just in...Canadian society is 9/10 obese according to BMI... :nod:

Offline cheeky_monkey

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I've found within the seagoing navy that not all units/Command teams support the CDS' directed 5hr/week min for PT. If there is support, that support vanishes the instant the XO/HODs become busy, even if your department/section may not be. The rhetoric is that it's a matter of optics - "it looks bad if the ship is busy when junior officers leave the ship for PT, even if their work is done." What I don't understand is that while optics are stressed in that circumstance, there's no value given to the optics of having those same individuals being among the fittest onboard, as fitness examples for the remainder of the crew.

Regarding the title of the thread, I buy it - as far as waistlines are concerned, we're (the seagoing RCN excluding MTOG and the FDUs) an unfit outfit. Compare a HMC Ship's Coy against a USN or other NATO Ship's Coy, and we look frumpy and unfit.


That said, I'm not sure such a test would pass the charter for Canada.
DAOD 5516 doesn't say anything about size. Obesity would be argued to be a medical disability, thus using obesity as an aggravating factor in any scenario would be contrary to CF policy and CHRA. However, new terminology within a new style of measurement could be used to get around that snag. It appears a USCG approach could work for removing from CAF service those who have to tuck their massive bellies into their pants.

YMMV

Edited for clarity.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 19:52:55 by cheeky_monkey »
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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My take on ship's company physical fitness, based on nearly a quarter century of sailing:

It has gotten a lot better. PT time seems to regularly occur. That said, there are two fairly serious impediments to everyone getting 5 hrs of PT per week.

The first is that sea time is scarce. That means when a ship goes to sea, they seem to pack 26hrs of activity into each and every day. Those drills and combat readiness requirements impose a tyranny that cannot be ignored. That said- doing damage control exercises are physically demanding.

The second is alongside. The ships are old and need lots of maintenance. We don't have a tonne of extra people (that I have observed) in our Navy, so a lot of work fixing ships falls heavily on the crew alongside. Perhaps more robust FMFs would help, but no one seems to want to spend the PYs for that.


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Obesity would be argued to be a medical disability, thus using obesity as an aggravating factor in any scenario would be contrary to CF policy and CHRA.

I would take the opposite view. True disabilities have a sense of permanence to them. People can lean to function as their limitations allow, but the base medical condition is probably not going away. Obesity on the other hand is changeable, to the point of elimination. That in itself should nullify the argument.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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My take on ship's company physical fitness, based on nearly a quarter century of sailing:

It has gotten a lot better. PT time seems to regularly occur. That said, there are two fairly serious impediments to everyone getting 5 hrs of PT per week.

The first is that sea time is scarce. That means when a ship goes to sea, they seem to pack 26hrs of activity into each and every day. Those drills and combat readiness requirements impose a tyranny that cannot be ignored. That said- doing damage control exercises are physically demanding.

The second is alongside. The ships are old and need lots of maintenance. We don't have a tonne of extra people (that I have observed) in our Navy, so a lot of work fixing ships falls heavily on the crew alongside. Perhaps more robust FMFs would help, but no one seems to want to spend the PYs for that.

Why do you think it's getting better? There must be some kind of good news story or other learnings that could be shared around.
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Both personal attitudes towards fitness in sailors and a command climate which supports fitness.

That is why it has gotten better.

25 years ago, PT in a foreign port was golf. That was it.

Nowadays, nearly everyone runs or lifts weights or both.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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I concur with SKT.

And in my view, this improvement of personal attitudes towards fitness and command support of it is the way to continue to go and improve for the Navy.

The Navy benefits from having fit and healthy seaman, but you will never be able to either approach fitness in the Navy with the Army methods and outlook, nor does the Navy need Army "fitness freaks" approach to it.

The Navy will never need people that consider that the "fitness" part of their job means that they can run a marathon, then bike 50K before swimming two kilometres as a warm up for tonight's hockey game.

I am exaggerating, but barely  ;). However, if my sailors can reasonably go for a good 5k jog three times a week and hit the gym for weights once a week for an hour or two, while having a good basic diet, I would find that quite satisfactory.

Offline PuckChaser

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I'd be interested in how much fitness played a part in the damage control/fire fighting teams on PRESERVER, and whether they would have been more efficient/require less rest if they were fitter than jogging a couple times a week.

There's a big difference between jogging 5km in 45 minutes, and doing it regularly in 25.

Offline FSTO

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I'd be interested in how much fitness played a part in the damage control/fire fighting teams on PRESERVER, and whether they would have been more efficient/require less rest if they were fitter than jogging a couple times a week.

There's a big difference between jogging 5km in 45 minutes, and doing it regularly in 25.

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

Offline SeaKingTacco

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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.

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.

Offline jollyjacktar

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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  ;)

Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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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.
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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.
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Offline 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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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)

My musings
Abdullah
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Offline 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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Offline 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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Offline 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

Offline 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.

Offline 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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Offline FSTO

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

It wasn't intentional. ;D

Offline jollyjacktar

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Offline MilEME09

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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.

As a Red Seal chef civi side, and having seen inside CF kitchens. It is my belief that since they do not operate as business's, rather as a operational cost, they want to reduce their food cost (cost of raw ingredients divided by revenue). How do you lower that? you order premade garbage from Sysco or GFS and is quick to cook and ready with little effort. Cooking is not hard, cooking simple is the key, it is something the CF is capable of, however it means more staff in order to make things fresh from scratch, which will use less salt, less processed food.
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Offline Blackadder1916

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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)

And again, like many, the fallacy of automatically equating "obesity" with disability or un-fitness; it may be (and most often is) an indicator of unhealthiness, but taken in isolation it proves nothing.  Whether we like it or not the CAF is subject to the same human rights and discrimination legislation as the rest of Canada.  Someone cannot be turfed for being "fat".  Being "fat" is not, in and of itself, valid grounds for dismissal from employment.  A previous poster mentioned the height/weight standards of the USCG and that not meeting them could result in dismissal from the service.  However, one of the stated purposes of that policy is to "Present a sharp professional military appearance".  That is where we differ from the US services.  It is easy for them to legislate appearance when they are exempt from some aspects of their human rights law.

As an example of the results of making "appearance" a factor in the continued employment of a soldier, one can look to Bouchard v. Canadian Armed Forces.  This CHRT decision from 1990 ordered the reinstatement of a previously released cook whose medical category had been lowered to G4O3 due to kidney stones.  As a (possible) sequela, the soldier was also identified as obese.  From a reading of the decision, one could see that significant weight was likely given to the testimony of an officer from the careers shop, who in explaining the process that they went through to determine if the cook could be retained with restrictions, identified that the number of likely positions available were reduced because some of them had a requirement for the cook "to be presentable" (in other words - not a fatty) due to having to serve dignitaries.  While the poor result for the CAF could be due to a lax presentation of its case (luckily, the decision was reversed on appeal when the underlying medical factors were more properly stressed), one can see that inserting "physical appearance" as an occupational requirement does not work.

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Offline daftandbarmy

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From a reading of the decision, one could see that significant weight was likely given to the testimony of an officer from the careers shop....

I see what you did there :)
"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

Offline MilEME09

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And again, like many, the fallacy of automatically equating "obesity" with disability or un-fitness; it may be (and most often is) an indicator of unhealthiness, but taken in isolation it proves nothing.  Whether we like it or not the CAF is subject to the same human rights and discrimination legislation as the rest of Canada.  Someone cannot be turfed for being "fat".  Being "fat" is not, in and of itself, valid grounds for dismissal from employment.  A previous poster mentioned the height/weight standards of the USCG and that not meeting them could result in dismissal from the service.  However, one of the stated purposes of that policy is to "Present a sharp professional military appearance".  That is where we differ from the US services.  It is easy for them to legislate appearance when they are exempt from some aspects of their human rights law.

As an example of the results of making "appearance" a factor in the continued employment of a soldier, one can look to Bouchard v. Canadian Armed Forces.  This CHRT decision from 1990 ordered the reinstatement of a previously released cook whose medical category had been lowered to G4O3 due to kidney stones.  As a (possible) sequela, the soldier was also identified as obese.  From a reading of the decision, one could see that significant weight was likely given to the testimony of an officer from the careers shop, who in explaining the process that they went through to determine if the cook could be retained with restrictions, identified that the number of likely positions available were reduced because some of them had a requirement for the cook "to be presentable" (in other words - not a fatty) due to having to serve dignitaries.  While the poor result for the CAF could be due to a lax presentation of its case (luckily, the decision was reversed on appeal when the underlying medical factors were more properly stressed), one can see that inserting "physical appearance" as an occupational requirement does not work.

While I agree with you that it's not a good standard, I am saying it can be used as part of a larger set of checks to determine a members level of fitness. followed by a remediation program for failure, but eventually if a member is unfit continuously then they should be released as they are unable to complete their duties under universality of service.
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Offline Lumber

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While I agree with you that it's not a good standard, I am saying it can be used as part of a larger set of checks to determine a members level of fitness. followed by a remediation program for failure, but eventually if a member is unfit continuously then they should be released as they are unable to complete their duties under universality of service.

On of you is using the term "Fit/Unfit" and the other is using the term "Fat/Lean" but you're both assuming you're talking about the same thing, but you're not.

You're both right.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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I think the opportunity to deploy operationally is a good motivator to get in shape and be fit. 

Personally since being told we may deploy to Africa I've been waking up early to get an extra hour long run in and do an extra gym work out over lunch or after work every day, on top of regular PT.



Offline Ostrozac

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If being skinny is a priority, then shouldn't we all start heavily smoking? (Although I suppose nicotine gum in the ration packs makes more sense, in an insane way.)

On a serious note, the US Army aggressively tape-tests people for body fat. Which works for them, but in Canada shouldn't we first sort out recruiting and retention before we consider something that would encourage trained troops out the door and simultaneously discourage civilians from entry?

I guess a bronze/silver/gold Skeletor patch for multiple years spent slim is out of the question?

Offline QV

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Another issue that contributes to an appearance of frumpiness in the CAF which is not discussed much is age.  Our military is old.  When I look at Americans or British they seem to have a much younger force.  We are more like a second public service.  CRA 60? - maybe if your a general...  But not a Sgt or Maj. 

We should have an up or out policy and caps on age or service years for certain ranks.  Normal progression should result in max service of 22 years - make room for younger fitter leaner soldiers. We should recruit no older than 30 but aim for 18-23 as the target age.  I'm sure there is a charter violation with age discrimination, but there needs to be exceptions for a combat capable force. 

Offline daftandbarmy

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Another issue that contributes to an appearance of frumpiness in the CAF which is not discussed much is age.  Our military is old.  When I look at Americans or British they seem to have a much younger force.  We are more like a second public service.  CRA 60? - maybe if your a general...  But not a Sgt or Maj. 

We should have an up or out policy and caps on age or service years for certain ranks.  Normal progression should result in max service of 22 years - make room for younger fitter leaner soldiers. We should recruit no older than 30 but aim for 18-23 as the target age.  I'm sure there is a charter violation with age discrimination, but there needs to be exceptions for a combat capable force.

Turn your 'Gap Year' into a 'Gap 5 years!'
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Offline mariomike

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Normal progression should result in max service of 22 years

That would get you a 44% pension.  Well below the 70% maximum.


 

Offline QV

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On the current pension plan, yes, but if terms of service were to completely change then so should compensation and benefits but this a rabbit hole.... My point is the older demographics of our military compared to our peers tends to affect negatively, IMO, fitness (and fitness for combat). 

Offline mariomike

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On the current pension plan, yes, but if terms of service were to completely change then so should compensation and benefits but this a rabbit hole....

The CAF accrual rate is 2%. For some, ( Police Officers, Firefighters and Paramedics in Ontario ) it's 2.33%.

Even if the CAF were to achieve 2.33%, you would still have to serve 30 years in the Regular Force to max out.

You want "max service of 22 years"? That's nice, but who would want to be forced out on mandatory retirement with a 44% pension - when they used to be allowed to stay in for the whole ride and get 70%?

Who would join any employer under those Terms of Service? That hardly sounds like the way An Employer of Choice would treat a loyal employee.


My point is the older demographics of our military compared to our peers tends to affect negatively, IMO, fitness (and fitness for combat).

I won't argue with that. But, from reading the 11-page "Am I too to Join" discussion, there seems to be a lot of encouragement for older potential applicants.

Since subsequent generations are typically much smaller than the Baby Boomer generation, finding suitable replacement staff can be a challenge.

We should recruit no older than 30 but aim for 18-23 as the target age. 

That practice used to be relatively common with certain employers prior to the early 1980s.

Like you say, it's not a bad idea to get in when you are young.  :)






« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 22:48:32 by mariomike »

Offline captloadie

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You know, as a leader in this great organization of ours, I really don't care so much how the troops look (physically, they still need to be well groomed and dressed). I care how they perform. That may sound like sacrilege to some, but look around and see what society looks like, and accept that we have to take what we can get in many cases. It may mean taking that late 30ish individual who isn't the perfect physical specimen and is carrying a few extra pounds. He might never be able to be the front line hard charging combat arms type, but he might make the best mechanic in the platoon, or Int O in the HQ.

Offline daftandbarmy

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You know, as a leader in this great organization of ours, I really don't care so much how the troops look (physically, they still need to be well groomed and dressed). I care how they perform. That may sound like sacrilege to some, but look around and see what society looks like, and accept that we have to take what we can get in many cases. It may mean taking that late 30ish individual who isn't the perfect physical specimen and is carrying a few extra pounds. He might never be able to be the front line hard charging combat arms type, but he might make the best mechanic in the platoon, or Int O in the HQ.

Sadly though, in some cases, it looks like 'what we can get' equates to 'morbidly obese'. I never thought I'd see the day when I was in an Army that would openly tolerate, and protect through formal policies of one kind or another, senior leaders and others who have to swath themselves in what I can only describe as a Cadpat Moo-Moo.
"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

Offline mariomike

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I think the opportunity to deploy operationally is a good motivator to get in shape and be fit. 

Other motivators are discussed here,

Armed Forces Consider incentives to keep soldiers fit 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=114687.50
12 pages.

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Sadly though, in some cases, it looks like 'what we can get' equates to 'morbidly obese'. I never thought I'd see the day when I was in an Army that would openly tolerate, and protect through formal policies of one kind or another, senior leaders and others who have to swath themselves in what I can only describe as a Cadpat Moo-Moo.

You do have a good point.

I know a number of soldiers who could be described as "in shape" because round is a shape. Don't let appearances deceive you - those round soldiers can regularly go above and beyond to make things happen because some of our "fit soldiers" - you know, the gym rats and others, are too busy at the gym to do that mundane Army stuff...
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 14:35:47 by Hamish Seggie »
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