Czech Republic: Fatty army to go on a diet
31 August 2011
There is no underestimating the weight of the Czech military. “The soldiers are too fat and will have to be given medical treatment,” reports Lidové noviny. According to a study based on medical visits in 2010, half of the 22,000 professional soldiers that are supposed to defend the country are overweight, and one in seven is obese. An order has now been issued for the launch of a “chemical” programme to combat the phenomenon, which is to cost 33 euros per month and per soldier. “Instructing the army to take more physical exercise would have been a more natural and less costly option for the state,” remarks one military doctor quoted by Lidové noviny. The Prague daily also points out that “in a conscription based army, the condition of the soldiers would reflect a slightly soft sample of the general population.” However, in 2004 the Czech Republic established a professional army supposed to have “the honour, responsibility and habits of professional” soldiers. That said, weighty troops are nothing new. The newspaper points out that under Austrian-Hungarian empire, the typical soldier had much in common with “the piggish Baloun” who devoured his lieutenant’s dinner, in the novel The Good Soldier Švejk.