A mother in Ohio is fighting to change the Army's policies for recruits because she says her son died after following the military's instructions for losing weight, which included starvation and purging. Lora Bailey said her son, 20-year-old Glenni Wilsey, died of acute cardiac dysrhythmia after losing 85 pounds in three months.
In this Fox 8 Cleveland video, Bailey says that Wilsey was told he'd have to lose at least 70 pounds in a few months to go on active duty.
She says he was instructed on how to sweat weight off by wearing a wet suit and two sweat suits while working out. However, he still wasn't losing fast enough, so recruiters allegedly told him he'd need to do more. Bailey told the Chronicle Telegram, "At that time, he was also told, coached, suggested, prodded - whatever word needs to be used - that ‘If you eat a big meal, it is OK to vomit that back up."
Wilsey, who was about six feet tall, was originally 270 pounds and weighed 197 pounds on the day he collapsed in his home. The coroner concluded that his death was caused by an electrolyte imbalance due to extreme dieting. When asked if Army recruiters recommended binging and purging, a spokesman said, "I hope not." He also released this statement:
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Glenni Wilsey. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to his family and friends during this time of grief and pain. There is a pending investigation regarding the death of Glenni Wilsey. We are confident that all details pertaining to this unfortunate loss will be revealed and appropriate actions will be taken based upon those findings."
Two Army representatives met with Bailey on the day her son died, but since then the military has refused to release information about an investigation. She claims dozens of people have contacted her with similar stories about the Army encouraging crash crash dieting. Ultimately, Wilsey caused his own death, since recruiters didn't force him to follow their plan. However, if they allegations are true, they were definitely partially responsible. While working out and purging on a starvation diet sounds obviously unhealthy, recruits like Wilsey are taught to trust their superiors implicitly, even if it means putting themselves at risk.