Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire Constabulary denies '70% of staff overweight or obese'

Hampshire Constabulary officers Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Assessments of 525 of Hampshire police staff who put themselves forward found 367 were overweight

A police force has denied 70% of its staff are overweight or obese after an internal memo went public.

An email from Ch Supt Lucy Hutson at Hampshire Constabulary warned staff of the health risks following a recent health screening programme.

But the force insists the screening involved only 8% of its staff.

It said it was "not representative of our workforce as a whole". News outlets reported two-thirds of officers were overweight after the email went public.

The screening involved 525 of Hampshire police staff, 367 of who were found to be overweight, the force said.

It employs about 6,000 staff in total.

The spokesperson said the leaked document was from "internal communications in relation to our responsibility as an employer to conduct vulnerability assessments of our staff and officers in relation to Covid-19".

What did the assessment entail?

  • A lifestyle questionnaire
  • Measuring height and and weight
  • A body composition assessment (fat percentage and rating, BMI and rating, visceral fat rating, and waist to hip ratio) to assess cardiac risk
  • Testing blood glucose
  • Measuring cholesterol level
  • Measuring blood pressure and resting heart rate

They said a "small sample" of people who came for "help with their well-being and their fitness over the last two years" were physically assessed.

They added: "We know the job can be incredibly challenging for our officers and staff.

"The physical and mental health of our staff is incredibly important to us, and we are committed to proactive and reactive strategies to increase good health and wellbeing."

The force said it was also "proud" it had "very low sickness rates" as a result of the coronavirus.

Officers have to carry out an annual fitness test, but the latest assessment was a separate Hampshire Constabulary initiative.

How to tell if you're obese

The most widely used method to check if someone is a healthy weight is body mass index (BMI), a measure of whether they are a healthy weight for their height.

For most adults, a BMI of:

  • 18.5 to 24.9 is a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 is overweight
  • 30 to 39.9 is obese
  • 40 or above is severely obese

Source: NHS

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