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Can a weight management conditioning course help with armed forces recruitment?
  1. Richard Cumpsty1,
  2. S Makin2 and
  3. J Woodhouse3
  1. 1 Army Medical Services, Twickenham, London, UK
  2. 2 Army Medical Services, Camberley, Surrey, UK
  3. 3 Medical Centre, Army Training Centre Pirbright, Alexander Barracks, Surrey, UK
  1. Correspondence to S Makin, Army Medical Services, Camberley GU15 4NP, UK; smakin{at}


British Armed Forces are facing the most significant recruitment crisis since 2010. An important contributing factor to the recruitment crisis is the rise in obesity of the UK population. At Army Training Centre Pirbright, a weight management programme (WMP) has been established for recruits who have failed their initial medical assessment (IMA). To determine the proportion of recruits who entered the WMP and passed basic and initial trade training, allowing entry into the British Army. Retrospective service evaluation of recruits entering WMP from inception in April 2015 to August 2018. Medical records were used to assess whether recruits completed initial training. 72.3% of recruits included in the WMP who would have previously failed their IMA because of a high body mass index (BMI) passed basic and initial trade training. This evaluation demonstrates potential for candidates otherwise excluded based on BMI. This WMP delivers structured nutritional support and encourages physical training. Once a BMI enters the accepted range, recruits could enter basic training. This WMP would deliver structured nutritional support and encourage physical training, with the aim of promoting healthy lifestyles. Neither the Royal Navy nor the Royal Air Force currently have a WMP. There is potential for WMPs to be introduced to all three services. UK Armed Forces face a recruitment crisis and need to be adaptable with a population where obesity is prevalent. At Pirbright 72.3% of candidates in the WMP passed basic and initial trade training.

  • weight management
  • obesity
  • recruitment

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  • Contributors RC was the lead author and undertook the majority of the initial evaluation and produced the first draft. JW is the senior author and instigated the evaluation, provided expertise and guidance and assisted with the evolution of the paper. SM led the redrafting and evolution of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.