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thedrifter
03-05-08, 09:04 PM
Wurst case scenario: German soldiers too fat
By Cameron Abadi - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Mar 5, 2008 16:16:12 EST

BERLIN — The German military, it seems, has been traveling too much on its stomach.

A parliamentary report sent to the Defense Ministry says the nation’s soldiers are more overweight than average civilians, a spokesman said.

“Soldiers are too fat, don’t do enough sports and don’t pay attention to what they eat,” wrote Reinhold Robbe, the parliamentary commissioner for the military.

His report, issued Tuesday, drew on a study conducted by sports physicians at the University of Cologne showing that 40 percent of all soldiers between the ages of 18 and 29 are overweight, compared with 35 percent of German civilians the same age.

Robbe said that did not mean that the country’s soldiers are too unfit to be deployed effectively. But he argued it would be an “enormous advantage” on the battlefield if they were in better shape. He urged Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung to alter the military’s relationship with physical fitness.

“Without a fundamentally new approach, without an offensive to improve the fitness of our soldiers, things will hardly change,” Robbe said.

He told parliament that few of Germany’s 250,000 soldiers participate in sports either on or off duty, despite high-quality sports equipment at their barracks. Twenty percent do not participate in any sports at all and 70 percent are regular smokers.

He called these “alarming results,” considering that the army invests $39.5 million annually to support sports training for the troops.

Robbe attributed the poor fitness to a passive lifestyle encouraged by military officers and an excess of bureaucracy.

Ministry spokesman Thomas Raabe said it was analyzing the report and would provide a summary of its own findings by midyear.

Ellie