Belgian police recruits have to undergo rigorous physical training at the recruitment stage. However, soon they are seen putting on weight. A local newspaper, Het Laatste Nieuws, quoted interior ministry figures suggesting that the male police officers are too fat to do their job properly.
The average body mass index (BMI) of male police officers in Belgium is 26.52, above the healthy range (between 18.5 and 25), and it keeps increasing each year. Female police officers remain within the healthy limits, with an average BMI of 22.9.
These figures were published after Christian-Democrat lawmaker Ravi Demon raised questions in the parliament about the fitness of the country's federal police force. Demon said, "A good physical condition is necessary in order to carry out the job properly. Officers getting older and heavier will soon be a major problem for all police forces in Flanders if no additional support or guidance is given."
Interior minister Jan Jambon said, "Officers participated in exercises throughout the year and also received an annual medical check-up."