Author Topic: Report suggests 3/4 of Canadian Forces personnel are overweight, obese  (Read 12813 times)

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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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Online 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

Online 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.
"We are called a Battalion, Authorized to be company strength, parade as a platoon, Operating as a section"

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.



Online 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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