- By Sophia Jones<p> Sophia Jones, a former editorial researcher at Foreign Policy, is an Overseas Press Club fellow and freelance journalist based in Cairo. Follow her on Twitter: @Sophia_MJones. </p>
The classic American ‘donut-loving cop’ stereotype is not so funny in India. Five overweight police officers collapsed during a short parade in Mumbai earlier this year due to an unfortunate heat and pot-belly combo. City commissioner Arup Patnaik was humiliated and demanded that all policemen trim their waistlines or risk enduring a sort of extreme weight loss boot camp that few police officers pass.
The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in Kerala recently conducted a survey and found over 50 percent of police officers were either overweight or obese. Obesity has become one of the leading causes of death even though half of all Indian children suffer from malnourishment, reports VOA. The police chief of the western state of Rajasthan voiced his dismay over obesity in the police force:
"A fat potbellied man in uniform is a sight nobody appreciates."
Just over the border, overweight Nepali officers also face intense scrutiny. Last year, the police force pledged to institute annual health tests alongside personal fitness regimes for every officer in the force of 56,000. Bigyan Raj Sharma, a spokesman for the police force in Kathmandu, threatened overweight police officials, saying:
"Officers who fail will be barred from promotion and transferred to less well-paying posts."
An anti-obesity clinic is in the works for a police hospital in Mumbai and it seems India’s officers have no choice but to slim down — or face the wrath of their mothers. Yes, the new weight-loss campaign includes the wives and mothers of male officers to ensure that they are sticking to their diets by supporting healthier eating habits. Say bye-bye to mango lassis and hello to Atkins.