Police ordered to pull their weight as Indonesia fights obesity

MOJOKERTO, Indonesia (Reuters) – An Indonesian province has put 50 overweight police on a crash program of aerobics, swimming and jogging, telling them they’d better shape up for the job.

Indonesian police officers perform aerobics during a weight-loss programme in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia, July 25, 2019. REUTERS/Titik Kartitiani

The officers in East Java are being closely monitored on the two-week program and also get guidance from nutritionists and medical experts, said spokesman Frans Barung Mangera.

“We think all the selected personnel don’t have the ideal body weight,” said Mangera.

The police force had determined that the ideal weight for an officer in kilograms should be their height (in centimeters) minus 110, Mangera said.

Indonesia has seen a spike in obesity in recent years and the World Health Organization in 2016 estimated that at least 28 percent of Indonesia’s 250 million people were overweight.

A 2018 health survey of 300,000 families concluded that about one in five adults was obese, media said. A sedentary lifestyle as well as a diet often rich in oil and sugar have been blamed.

During one part of the training, the police punch their fists in the air and twist their waists to music blasted from loudspeakers.

“Being overweight makes us less agile when we are on duty and we often fall sick,” said officer Iwan Sutanto. He claimed to feel healthier after losing 3.5 kg (7.72 lb).

Police spokesman Mangera said the program was likely to be extended to the entire province of East Java.

“Body shape determines whether the officer is fit to serve the public,” said Mangera.

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Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Nick Macfie

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