From the Guardian
German soldiers are fat, unfit and too fond of cigarettes and stodgy food, according to a parliamentary report into the physical state of the army.
The report, an annual review of the state of the military, said Germany's soldiers were fatter than the average citizen - 40% are overweight, compared with 35% of civilians of the same age, while 8.5% are classed as "seriously overweight".
"It would be an enormous advantage on the battlefield if they shaped up," the defence ministry admitted yesterday.
The report, presented in Berlin by Reinhold Robbe, the parliamentary commissioner for the military, said soldiers, 70% of whom smoke, ate too much and did not move enough, either on or off duty. "This has much to do with poor equipment and lack of training," the report said. It added that bureaucracy got in the way of their physical fitness.
Soldiers, it said, spent too much time filling in forms, doing emissions tests on vehicles, and separating rubbish. Robbe also criticised financial cuts made in recent years which he said had reduced the quality of food supplied to the army.
A respondent to an army blog posting who identified himself as an officer blamed conscription, which meant many soldiers were not serious about the task.
The army was, he said, "full of fatties ... making us the laughing stock abroad where we're seen as overweight grumpy old men ... compared to the British, we're viewed as pathetic."