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Fort Sill embracing new Army health initiatives

Commercials have long talked about what it takes to be “Army strong.”

Now, the U.S. Army, along with Fort Sill, is finding new ways to make sure its soldiers are Army fit.

According to a RAND Corporation report on the 2015 Health Related Behaviors Survey — a study featuring more than 18,000 participants across all service branches — 65.7 members of the U.S. military were classified as obese or overweight, based on body mass index. Among the branches, the Army carried the highest rate of obesity, with more than 69 percent of soldiers in the Army being overweight.

While servicemen and servicewomen are often seen as models of physical well-being and physique, the Army’s recruiting pool is largely made up of the everyday man and woman. For commanders at Fort Sill, the spectrum of body types they see from trainees is vast. Capt. Richard Johnson, Battery Commander of D Battery First Battalion 40th Field Artillery, said he sees plenty of recruits who are former high school athletes or who have maintained a fairly high level of health prior to basic training. There are also those who are not as physically active or conscious of their health.

“One of the first questions I ask during my first meeting with the trainees is, ‘Who did sports? Who’s active? Who works out?’ and have them raise their hands. And I have the ones who don’t also raise their hands,” Johnson said. “I say, still, majority of the class at least self-identifies as having been physically active. Now, to what level? I don’t know. But there is still a good portion of the class who says they have done no physical activity or very limited physical activity.”

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