Overweight Singapore soldiers told to trim down

SINGAPORE, September 24, 2010 (AFP) - Overweight Singapore soldiers have been told to trim down or risk getting the boot, a report said Friday.

The Straits Times said obese soldiers, sailors and airmen have received letters since early this year from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) urging them to shed at least 10 percent of their weight within a year.

Those who fail to shape up will be given a warning and have up to three years to trim down or risk being kicked out, the report said.

In a statement to AFP, the defence ministry confirmed the SAF has been implementing a weight management programme since 1992 but made no direct reference to expelling those who remain unfit.

"The SAF is committed to helping its uniformed regulars maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure that they are able to perform their required tasks and contribute effectively to the SAF," the statement said.

It added that regular soldiers, which the Straits Times said numbered 20,000, were required to undergo annual tests to measure their Body Mass Index, a standard health indicator, as well as the percentage of fat in their body.