The number of troops diagnosed as overweight or obese has more than doubled since the start of the Iraq war, yet another example of stress and strains of continuing combat deployments, according to a recent Pentagon study.
Let me see if I have this right....Obesity is in large part a product of inactivity. Being deployed in a war zone entails many hazards, but becoming a couch potato is not one of them. If servicemen really are packing on the pounds while deployed in Iraq, it doesn't mean they're too stressed out, but that they don't have enough to do over there.
As it turns out, however, Zoroya's story is remarkably thin (bad pun, I know). Just for starters, the headline is wrong in declaring that obesity has doubled. Here's what the piece actually says:
From 1998 to 2002, the number of servicemembers diagnosed as overweight remained steady at about one or two out of 100. But those numbers increased after 2003, according to the study, and today nearly one in 20 are diagnosed as clinically
Zoroya's lead paragraph combines "overweight" and "obese," which are two *different* levels of weight, and the headline writer settled on the latter, which is inaccurate, although obviously both more sensational and a shorter word. But all the study finds is that the percentage of overweight servicemen has increased, to 5% from 1% or 2%. Wow. Big deal.
The military has physical-fitness requirements, so that the likelihood of a soldier being *obese* is quite slim.
By contrast, Zoroya writes, "one in five Americans between ages 18 to 34 is obese, the study says." In other words, by the study's numbers, a young American adult not in the service is four times as likely to be *obese* as a military man is to be merely *overweight*, which is a lower weight level.
And even then, some obvious questions need to be asked:
1) Are the numbers adjusted for age? If not, it may be that the expanding number of overweight soldiers is a function of the average soldier's being older, as a result of higher re-enlistment and the deployment of reserve and National Guard units into active duty.
2) Are servicemen--and especially older servicemen--more likely to be examined by military physicians during wartime than peacetime?
The most amusing flaw in this story, though, is that Zoroya quotes the study as saying the exact opposite of what the reporter claims it says:
"Stress and return from deployment were the most frequently cited reasons" for gaining weight, the study said.
Not deployment--return from deployment. This makes perfect sense: On coming home after months in a war zone to the land of McDonald's, home cooking and alcohol, who wouldn't indulge enough to put on some pounds?
There is a reason for this new liberal media tack. They have realized that they can't smear our brave troops as monsters and baby-killers anymore, so now they fall over themselves to portray them as victims, unfortunates, and otherwise losers. The media depiction of vets as victims is obviously superior to its depiction of them as monsters, but it is full of its own condescension.