March 4, 2008 / 4:01 PM / 12 years ago

Whose soldiers are chubby and unfit?

German armed forces soldiers of the Bundeswehr troops who served in Afghanistan for ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) prepare before a welcoming ceremony west of Munich in this August 4, 2007 file photo. Germany's young soldiers are fat, smoke too much and don't take enough exercise, a report on the armed services said March 4, 2008.REUTERS/Miro Kuzmanovic/Files

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s young soldiers are fat, smoke too much and don’t exercise enough, a report on the armed services said on Tuesday.

“The public perception is that soldiers are slim, sporty and healthy. Unfortunately, the reality is very different,” said Germany’s army commissioner Reinhold Robbe as he presented the report.

Some 40 percent of soldiers between 18 and 29 are overweight compared to 35 percent among Germany’s civilian population, said the report, which also found young male and female soldiers smoked too much and failed to do enough sport.

“I make no secret of the fact that these results worry me a lot,” said Robbe, who blamed a passive lifestyle among troops. Once one of the world’s most-feared fighting forces, Germany’s armed forces now have about 245,000 uniformed staff.

Dogged by the legacy of World War Two, it is only nine years ago that Germany engaged in its first foreign combat operations since 1945, taking part in NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia.

Roughly 9,000 German troops are deployed today in global hotspots including Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Stephen Weeks

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