The UK is handing out fitness trackers to its military personnel who are overweight and face being discharged if they are unable to shed some weight. The fitness trackers which are being handed out happen to be from leading wearable manufacturer, Fitbit and cost around £100 ($121) each. However, the effect of the fitness trackers on the weight of the soldiers who have received it is yet to be seen and it has been reported before that there is no proof that fitness trackers help us lose weight.
Fitness trackers basically track the distance the wearer walks, along with the number of steps taken, and the amount of calories burned. The British Ministry of Defense has revealed that around 25,000 military personnel which is equivalent to around 18% of the Armed Forces, are either overweight or obese. On top of that, 1,000 soldiers suffer from type 2 diabetes and more than 32,000 personnel have failed the basic fitness test carried out by the military between 2011 and 2014. Since 2002, 60 soldiers have been discharged by the British military for being obese. While the military is trying to help its personnel to lose weight and stay in the military, the move has come under fire from certain parties regarding the expense involved to obtain the Fitbits.
According to the Mail on Sunday, a source has said that it is the responsibility of a soldier to ensure he or she stays in shape, and if the soldier cannot maintain a healthy weight to fight, they should be thrown out from the military. The source went on to say that the Army shouldn't be spending unnecessary money on such devices to help a soldier lose weight. The Ministry of Defense has said that 95% of their personnel routinely pass fitness tests, but a fitness tracker can be a useful tool for personnel who need to track injury-recovery and fitness. Fat clubs have been established in units where quite a few troops are overweight in a bid to get them to slim down. Diet pills have also been given to around 300 soldiers and more than 20 have had liposuction done on them, with the bill paid by taxpayers. It is believed that the reason behind the overweight and obese soldiers is the food served in military cookhouses. Food such as full English breakfasts and main meals served alongside chip and pudding are regular items on the menu for soldiers.