Shahin Javaheri, MD
Over 20 Years of Experience in Plastic Surgery

Liposuction Changing Military’s Battle of the Bulge

Recently, the Associated Press reported there were a number of military personnel turning to liposuction procedures to help them meet their weight loss goals. If these men and women are training day in and day out why do they need to succumm to plastic surgery?

Like many of us, their bodies are also unresponsive to extreme diets and exercise. Their inability to lose weight from troubled areas of fat cannot hinder their chances of achieving promotional opportunities and could potentially be kicked out of the military if they fail the Pentagon’s body fat test.

Military’s Fat Standards

The Defense Department reports that a soldier who exceeds body fat will not perform well on physical fitness challenges they are faced with in training or in battle. The margin of error during physical fitness exams is less than one percent for those who pass. The small fraction of service members whose fat and bulky muscles who do not pass the “tape test,” which measures body fat around the waist and neck, are placed on a rigorous diet and exercise program.

The men and women spend months in what is known as the “pork chop platoon” until they can reduce their measurements to continue their terms of full service. Should they fail three times they are kicked out, military officials say.

Since over 35 percent of Americans are obese, the past five years has shown an increase in expelled soldiers. Overweight Army soldiers removed, jumped from 168 in 2008 to 1,815. The Marine Corps, 102 in 2010 to 186 in 2011.

Why Do Soldiers Have to Cut Their Weight?

For one, soldiers are in fear of jeopardizing their career. Many soldiers have families to raise and cannot afford to be kicked out or at a loss of promotional opportunities. Thousands of new recruits who meet the standards of the tape test can be promoted quickly as opposed to a servicemen who previously failed the tape test.

Liposuction is the Permitted Solution

Many soldiers are already in shape, but their natural physique and genetics hold them back from meeting their weight loss goal. Since the Defense Department uses an unconventional method of fat measurements instead of the standard body mass index, soldiers have no choice but to resort to liposuction.

Very few crash diets do the job in achieving a healthier lifestyle, but many cannot successfully meet the measurement standards. Bulking up in the gym is another option to increase neck size to proportionally meet their waist size, but soldiers with the wrong genetic makeup may not see results until years of consistent exercise programs.

The military has a ban on surgical procedures unless there is a need for medical attention, but there is not a ban on liposuction for troubled areas of fat. Those with larger physiques acquire passable results for the tape test, following liposuction procedures.

To help maintain their terms of service for our country, men and women of the military make the change to their bodies to prove they are slim to serve in the military. Their extensive training and dieting programs are not enough to reduce their body proportions, which is what many American civilians struggle with everyday. Ask your doctor what liposuction can do to achieve a slimmer waist and neckline before enlisting in the military.

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