At a time when the force is laying stress on improving the fitness of their troops, the Army headquarters has warned military doctors against declaring obese officers as medically fit. 

The Army headquarters issued the warning in the wake of three to four officers dying in service due to heart attacks or other lifestyle-related diseases. 

“The Army chief has directed in the Army commanders’ conference that medical officers would be held accountable for violating the guidelines declaring obese officers as Shape-I,” a communication from Army’s adjutant general branch issued on 10 June stated. 

In recent times, the Army has waged a war against obesity. It had issued a set of guidelines in August last year in which it had warned that such personnel would miss out on promotion, foreign postings and career enhancement courses in the force.

According to the policy on reducing obesity in the force, there would be no place to hide for obese personnel as senior officers have been granted powers to carry out random checks during their visits and medically downgrade such people after a thorough check up.

Recently, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had said that all ranks must feel proud to hang their uniform in Shape-1, which is the highest medical category. 

“All ranks must feel proud to hang their uniform in Shape-I, and should not clamour to go as lower medical category just to get disability pension,” the Army chief said. 

Gen Rawat noted that the cases of disability, lifestyle diseases and sudden death of young soldiers during the Battlefield Physical Efficiency Test should alarm all of us. Measures to reduce deep-fried and unhealthy foods like puris, pakoras and sweet dishes need to be undertaken, and replaced with healthy alternatives acceptable to the troops.