Belgium's overweight soldiers27th July 2010
The Belgian military has announced that it is trying to trim the figures of its soldiers, the majority of whom are overweight, and will launch a diet programme for them in the next few months.
From now on, soldiers in Belgium will be ordered to diet to keep their weight down.
The Belgian ministry of defence also wants to cut down its troops by allowing 1,150 soldiers to retire early.
The soldiers who retire early will not have to lose weight, of course, but the ones who stay in the Belgian military will.
Ingrid Baeck, a Belgian army spokeswoman, said that 60% of the soldiers in the Belgian military, most of whom were in their late thirties, were overweight.
Theo Francken, a Belgian MP, said that the failing the country's new fitness tests would mean that soldiers took pay penalties or involuntary leave, and that soldiers who consistently failed the new tests would be fired altogether.
Baeck said that soldiers should be in shape, like firefighters, and that defence chief Charles-Henri Delcour had long since noticed there was a weight problem in the Belgian military.
Francken said that, in order to allow for soldiers to lose weight, the government had already arranged deals with fitness centres in Leuven.
He said that, however, few soldiers actually used the facilities.
In Belgium, the defence budget is currently about 1% of the country's GDP.
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Title: Belgium's overweight soldiers
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 15627
Date Added: 27th Jul 2010