The selection we don't like. Aspiring carabiniere wins appeal against the weapon that judged him obese

(To Antonino Lombardi)

Excluded from the competition for the recruitment of 3.581 carabinieri students, the twenty-year-old AG of Ficarazzi (PA) was readmitted after his defenders managed to demonstrate an "error" on the parameters required by the competition.

The aspiring carabiniere in November 2019, was discarded from the competition in the Carabinieri because it was considered "Suffering from obesity". Not agreeing with the reason for exclusion from the competition, the young man gave a mandate to his lawyers to appeal to the TAR against the Ministry of Defense and the General Command of the Carabinieri against the unsuitability judgment of 8 November 2019 which had sanctioned the 'exclusion.

The lawyers produced health certifications in support of the client in which a weight of 112 kg and a height of 196 cm with a body mass index equal to 29.2 were shown. In the light of what emerged from the medical documentation produced by the interested party, the Lazio Regional Administrative Court ordered a cross-examination between the parties, appointing the Central Health Department of the Ministry of the Interior.

The medical commission of the Ministry of the Interior had disavowed that of the Ministry of Defense, considering, after having carried out the bioimpedance test, the competitor compatible with the enrollment, considering the prerequisites underlying the provision issued by the weapon to be non-existent. The bioimpedance analysis is based on the principle according to which biological tissues behave as good conductors, bad conductors, non-conductors or dielectrics if they are crossed by a low voltage current. Lean tissues are good conductors, while bones and fat mass are insulators (not conductors). Furthermore, the body fluids allow the current to flow easily while the cell mass offers resistance. Based on the data it collects, bio-impedancemetry allows us to know the amount of total water (TBW) contained in the analyzed body, its distribution inside and outside the cells, lean mass (FFM) and fat mass (FM ).

After the Lazio TAR had agreed to the boy last April, the Council of State also confirmed the decision of the court of first instance, rejecting the appeal of the weapon.

Before the Lazio regional administrative court, the boy's lawyers sued the Ministry of Defense and after requesting new investigations, their arguments were recognized as well founded. They themselves declared "everything revolves around the body mass index, since weight correlation with height: it is calculated by dividing body weight (kg) by height (meters) squared. According to what was established by the competition, the ratio between weight and height should not exceed the value of 30. During the visits, weight and height were wrong. According to the findings of the commission, the young man weighed 113,2 kilos and is 193,5 kg tall. With these data, the body mass index was 30,2 and exceeded the limit set by the competition. During the medical checks it was ascertained that the young man weighs 112 kilos and is 196 centimeters tall: the body mass index at this point is 29,2 below what is required by the competition announcement ".

The TAR after requesting new verifications had accepted the defense's thesis: "The assessments carried out when ascertaining the psycho-physical requirements even though they constitute a typical manifestation of technical administrative discretion - the judges write - they do not escape judicial review, where hypotheses of excess of power due to misrepresentation of the facts and illogicality are recognizable ”.

On 11 October the Council of State "Sharing the defensive theses and deeming the complaints of the Arma unfounded about the temporal infungibility of the physical checks carried out in the competition, with the consequent non-existence of the alleged violation of the par condicio competitorum, he rejected the appeal - the lawyers conclude - proposed by the General Command. "

Obesity has been a serious social as well as health problem for some time both in Italy and in other countries and not only in the armed forces. According to a 2016 Eurostat study, the population in Europe also indicates that more than half of adults in the EU states are overweight, 35,7% pre-obese and 15,9% obese and the trend is continuously growing. This must encourage us to deal seriously and methodically with the problem that is complex and carries with it a whole series of consequences, not least a potential negative impact on national security.

To enlist there are physical and cultural requirements (less and less stringent) as well as in many other professions. The lowering of these minimum values ​​could lead to a leveling tending to low which would diminish, inflate and make that profession less and less efficient and effective.

In the armed forces, the minimum psycho-physical requirements are the basis for undertaking a profession focused mainly and unquestionably on acting and requires a suitable physique to be able to carry out operational activities. It is not discrimination but simply "selection" of people for specific tasks, as is done for other professions.

Is it so strange to demand better physical fitness from a young military wannabe? Maybe committing to reach a goal (in this case enlisting) could be a pretext to start tackling this socio-health problem.

The young aspiring carabiniere will be enlisted and the General Command of the Carabinieri will pay the judicial costs.

Photo: Carabinieri weapon

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