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June 27, 2005
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Guatemalan police chief takes aim at overweight officers

The Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY- Guatemala's national police director on Sunday announced that his officers are taking on a new enemy: obesity.

A new effort to help federal police clean up their eating habits comes a few months after the corruption-plagued force started a campaign to improve its image among Guatemalans.

The new campaign is about more than public relations, said Erwin Sperissen, police director since 2004.

"It's not just how we're perceived; it's a question of health," Sperissen said. "We now have a dietitian that is designing a plan for the agents, hired by the recently created Division of Police Health."

While costly patrol cars are few and far between in this Central American nation of nearly 12 million, the battle against obesity gets harder for police as they move up the ranks from foot patrol to management, where the daily routine becomes more sedentary.

"Even I am on a diet and going to the gymnasium," Sperissen said.

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