Port Blair, India – For G. Chitra, an officer in the Indian police force, everything in his life is bad for his health. Working irregular hours can be stressful. Prolonged standing causes pain in his knees. Caring for a young child late at night and getting up at 4:30 for household chores makes him tired.
Yet one spring evening she was in her bedroom, doing 10 push-ups, 30 squats and a little yoga polish, before grabbing the red dumbbells and fluttering her arms towards the sky like a bird flying. Opens on its own. He felt bloated late, and decided to do something about it.
In India, a historically malnourished country, many people are now packing in pounds, and police officers are no exception. But in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where Ms Chatra serves, police have declared creamy curry, sachets and carbohydrate-rich foods to be the No. 1 enemy, and Adopted physical fitness.
The pressure for healthy officers extends beyond these remote islands, which are the heaviest in India, according to a government health survey. A court in the northern state of Punjab; The overweight policemen were stopped. From raiding bootleggers and drug dealers because they couldn’t run fast enough to catch them.
But the effort in Andaman and Nicobar, where the Bay of Bengal meets the Andaman Sea, is unique in its scale. Stander Garg, an experienced officer and health evangelist behind the campaign, hopes to make it a model for areas across the country.
“It’s a beautiful place on the ocean,” Mr Garg said of the islands, India’s natural treasures, sparkling lakes and hundreds of rare bird species. “Why would people here be unhealthy and obese?”
As Mr. Garg sees, healthy living – and strict discipline – is essential for good policing. When he took over as police chief in Andaman and Nicobar in 2020, he introduced a zero tolerance policy against corrupt officials and suspended officers for absenteeism and excessive drinking.
Then he turned to body matters. It measured the height-to-weight ratio of all 4,304 deployed personnel and determined that about 50 percent were either overweight or obese.
Initially, he intended to personally counsel each of the hundreds of obese officers he had learned about health sciences while suffering from liver disease.
He abandoned the project due to an epidemic, instead of taking two heavy officers under his arm, in the hope that their weight loss journey would affect the rest of the people. In a ranking power, where the bottom line cares about what’s important to the boss, the idea was that officers would see their weight because their leader was watching their weight.
Thus began the physical transformation of 34-year-old Johnny Watson, an officer in the area’s capital, Port Blair.
One recent evening, Mr. Watson was counting calories. Three pieces of fish, beans and some potatoes. Two chapatis instead of five, with a spoonful of pork. Black coffee instead of the sugary milk tea he drank for years.
A year ago she weighed 231 pounds. He had difficulty sitting in Indian-style latrines and could not run fast enough to catch hunters hunting deer, lizards and sea cucumbers.
Now, he’s at 189 pounds, and working to lose 35 more. Her blood pressure has returned to normal, and her waist has shrunk by four inches. Friends have stopped calling him “baby elephant”. Instead, they seek out weight loss tips.
“My old Johnny is back,” said his wife, Jennifer, lovingly watching him over dinner.
He is not always perfect. One day, as he was standing guard outside a building where election ballots were being stored, he skipped lunch because he had to be on standby during a storm warning. Instead, he grabbed a samosa, tricking Mr. Garg into eating the recommended food.
That evening, he and another colleague, who was watching her weight, went to a weekly counseling session.
“Do you have more protein and less carbohydrates?” Mr. Gregg asked Mr. Watson.
“Yes, sir, I am,” said Mr Watson with a straight face.
Her boss urged her to increase her intake of healthy fats and to eat dinner at least five hours before bed. Mr Watson said he had tried hard to stop eating sweets but had finally succeeded.
In an interview, Mr. Garg said he understands the pressure from law enforcement. According to one estimate, the Indian police force has only three-quarters of the officers it needs. On average, they work 14 hours a day. The survey found that a large majority of officers believe that their workload is affecting their physical and mental health.
Tension is a frequent topic in discussions about the welfare of officers. On a rainy day, more than 100 officers lined up in the open-air gymnasium, sucking their bellies as they measured. A team of doctors wrote down their metabolic readings and gave them questionnaires about their stress levels.
Also included were: questions about the style of leadership they preferred, did they feel uncomfortable proving themselves, and did they have any problems with the bureaucratic red tape.
Finally, Mr. Gregg, who is retiring in June, said he wants to gather enough data so that policymakers can develop a program for police stations across India.
Some officers said they were happy to pass the physical test.
“Now we can breathe a sigh of relief,” said one heavyweight officer as Mr. Gregg walked out of the room. “The heads are gone.”
Ms. Chatra, the officer who exercised in her bedroom and left the fish to boil in the sauce. کوکم And for her family, Coconut said the police chief’s move was “the first time anyone has expressed concern about our health in this way.”
Ms. Chatra, who is in her early 30’s, joined the force in 2016 to protect her job. But, like so many others, she has struggled with irregular times and uncertainty as to when she can find time.
“Twenty-four, we have to be on the call,” he said. “Our duty hours prevent us from taking care of our health. Mentally, we cannot set a schedule that we can follow on a daily basis.
Her busy life means she can only exercise two days a week.
Still, he said, it’s a start.