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Rana Parker



Police Obesity: An Arresting Development

Hey, drop that doughnut, officer! That’s the message (sort of) from dietitian Rana Parker to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The image of the carb-addicted pudgy police officer seems to be counter-intuitive, considering the physical nature of the job. So, the LAPD proudly boasts that they are hiring a dietitian to help slim down their force, and reverse the trend of expanding waistlines.

The LAPD has been facing a shortage of recruits, so they’ve relaxed their body fat limits to 22 percent for men and 30 percent for women.

As may be expected, there has been some resistance from the not-so-thin Blue Line, but there have also been some welcoming arms, and more importantly, successes.

Parker’s presence has helped some officers drop weight, which should make a stressful job less weighty. The common joke of the police officer in front of a 7-11 munching on a doughnut and sipping coffee makes for an easy laugh, but it’s not the whole story. While, there may be some truth to the stereotype, the obvious problem is that when you combine odd and long hours with a stressful profession, it’s a recipe for dietary disaster.

I applaud the LAPD, as one of the best ways we can honor the service of these heroes and heroines is to help them fight a battle some of them are losing – the battle of the bulge.