Military’s New Body Fat Standards Could Fail Many More Soldiers As Obesity Rates Climb

Many soldiers are expected to fail the U.S. Army’s new body fat standard test as obesity rates have climbed, according to CNN.

The U.S. Army previously conducted the tape test, which is used to measure a soldier’s body fat, by measuring men around the neck and abdomen and women around the neck, waist and hips, but will now measure around the naval for all soldiers, according to CNN. Approximately 34% of soldiers who passed the test should not have, according to data provided to CNN, and more are expected to fail under the new standards.

The tape test is used when soldiers’ weights do not meet the requirements of the body mass index screening table, CNN reported. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth signed a directive on June 9 to begin phasing in the tape test during this next year, according to Stars and Stripes.

The Army Body Composition Program supplies soldiers with a fitness trainer and registered dietitian and is designed to help soldiers who have not met their requirements lose weight and align with the standards and regulations, according to CNN. Soldiers who do not meet the requirements can be separate from the service after six months. 

“19% of active-duty service members had obesity in 2020, up from 16% in 2015,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in July 2022.

SAVANNAH, GA – MARCH 02: Members of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment deploy to Germany to reassure NATO allies, deter Russian aggression and to be prepared to support a range of other requirements in the region on March 2, 2022 in Savannah, Georgia. (Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)

One of the common reasons young people are ineligible to join the military is due to being overweight or obese, according to the CDC.

“In 2018, 71% of young people in the United States would not be able to join the military if they wanted to,” the CDC reported. (RELATED: ‘You Have Blood On Your Hands’: Maher Slams Body Positivity Activists Who Glorify Obesity)

The Army is “putting everything on the table to really look at how we can ensure that we continue to assess and retain quality,” Sgt. Maj. Christopher Stevens, the senior enlisted commander of the Army’s personnel office, told reporters on Wednesday, according to CNN.

The U.S. Army did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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