Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, head of the Army Recruiting Command, would like the Army to establish a "fat camp" for overweight applicants, according to a story in the Army Times. According to Defense Department figures provided to the AP, over the past four years 47,447 applicants were denied enlistment at MEPS because they exceeded military weight standards. Countless thousands of others are turned away at Army recruiting offices because they are above the weight standards. Recruiting officials estimate that 30 percent of applicants who walk into an Army recruiting office are turned away because they are obese. An additional 20 percent to 30 percent of recruits are slightly overweight, but some can get the weight off.
General Bostick would like to see a program operated much like the Army's new Prep School, which allows applicants without a high school diploma or GED to conditionally enlist, then attend a 4-week Army school to obtain a GED before attending basic training. Under Bostick's proposal some overweight applicants could enlist and attend a course with formal diet and fitness regimen, then proceed to basic once they achieved Army weight and fitness standards. The two-star general did not provide any timing for when his idea might be put into place, nor how much it would cost.