Obesity VA Rating – Does VA cover obesity?

Even though obesity is a rampant issue among the general American population, it is often overlooked. The American Medical Association recognizes obesity as a disease that produces numerous health conditions. Despite this, the VA does not recognize obesity as a disability. This has been a problem for many veterans who suffer from obesity as a result of their service.

Only recently did the high federal court of the U.S. decide that veterans may claim VA benefits if their obesity impairs their ability to earn. Obesity still isn’t listed on the VA rating schedule. However, the requirement for veterans with obesity to claim benefits is “functional impairment of earning capacity.” This makes it possible for veterans to claim VA disability benefits even if their condition isn’t listed on the VA rating schedule.

The Definition of Obesity

Obesity refers to the unwarranted number of adipose cells in the human body. This can reach a certain point where it brings about a plethora of other health issues. Not to mention, obesity hinders almost all sorts of bodily functions.

Over 35 percent of U.S. nationals suffer from obesity or obesity-related issues. Obesity is linked to the overconsumption of calories. The body needs a certain number of calories for its daily activities. The excess calories are turned into adipose cells. Adipose cells store nutrients that the body can use later. These are cells that we refer to as fat. Genes, environmental and personal health practices factor into obesity as well.

Obesity is diagnosed through the Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI is calculated by dividing someone’s weight in kilograms by someone’s height in meters squared.

Obesity in Veterans

Veterans suffer from obesity at a higher frequency than the general population. According to the estimation of Veteran Affairs, almost 78 percent of U.S. veterans are considered obese. Around 80 percent of said veterans are expected to face other obesity-related health problems.

The reason why there’s such a high percentage of obese veterans can traced to their military service. In the service, many military personnel are exposed to harmful conditions. Toxic components from insecticides, sewage contamination, and vaccines are often absorbed by the veterans.

Psychological trauma often leads to eating disorders that result in the obesity of veterans. It is common knowledge military service often traumatizes the soldier, which results in PTSD or depression. Overconsumption of food is a common coping mechanism for people suffering from these disorders.

VA Benefits and Service-Connected Obesity

In order to obtain health benefits from the VA, veterans must first make the connection between their obesity and their service. Treating veterans with obesity costs quite a lot because it affects their entire body and causes a myriad of other diseases.

VA benefits are only granted if the condition is associated with the military service. The veteran’s BMI must reach a certain point, and the obesity must result in total incapacity of earning. Some of the more common functions that are affected by obesity include:

  • Walking, running or jogging
  • Range of motion
  • Keeping a balanced stance
  • Rising from a sitting position
  • Maintaining proper hygiene
  • Breathing properly

Associating military service with obesity is challenging as it requires written documents from consultants and doctors. Sometimes, scientific literature has to be cited. It has to do with the fact that veterans don’t develop obesity instantly after their service. It is a gradual and yet deadly process. Overweight people often have to endure ridicule and prejudice, which leads to them facing more obstacles in life.


Millions of Americans are affected by obesity, many of whom succumb to an early death because of it. Veterans who suffer from it have a very hard time claiming benefits when it comes to obesity. However, the experts at VA Disability Coach can provide excellent consultation and walk them through the process of procuring all possible benefits.