Psst, Fat Boy: Uncle Sam Wants You

Military tells recruits with high BMI that they can sign up now, lose weight later
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Jan 5, 2009 12:25 PM CST
Soldiers stand at attention during an induction of new Army recruits on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009, at the Alamodome in San Antonio.   (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
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(Newser) – To reel in more recruits, the US Army is relaxing weight restrictions on would-be soldiers. A waiver program gives outsize volunteers a year after signing up to get in shape, measured by body-mass index, or be booted, the Christian Science Monitor reports. With the youthful population consuming more and exercising less, and the military planning to expand, something had to give.

In its trial run, the program added some 1,500 soldiers to its ranks in fiscal 2007, and showed failure rates no higher than in the main recruiting pool. Waiver applicants have to pass a minimal fitness test designed to weed out hopeless cases. "The point is to get the football-player kinda kids, not the couch-potato kids," says a recruiting expert.