The original purpose of the Army's height-weight standards, which dates back as early as World War I, was to exclude underweight males whose underdevelopment may have indicated a chronic disease such as tuberculosis from entry into the Army.

The primary objective of today's weight control program and height-weight standards as outlined in Army Regulation 600-9, -- the Army Weight Control Program (AWCP), and AR 40-501 is to ensure all personnel are able to meet the physical demands of their duties under combat conditions and present a trim military appearance at all times.

The Army is known for having well trained, well disciplined and physically fit Soldiers. Excess body fat not only detracts from military appearance, but it may also indicate a lack of discipline, and a poor state of health, physical fitness or stamina.

Each Soldier (commissioned officer, warrant officer and enlisted) is responsible for meeting and maintaining the standards as prescribed in AR 600-9. AR 600-9 suggests Soldiers select a personal weight goal that is 5 percent below the screening table weight found in Table 3-1 of AR 600-9.

A Soldier who consistently exceeds a properly selected goal should seek advice from a designated unit fitness trainer, implement effective exercise and seek advice from healthcare personnel on a proper dietary program.

Commanders and supervisors are required to monitor all members of their command to ensure they maintain proper weight, body composition and personal appearance.

Soldiers will be weighed when they take the Army Physical Fitness Test or at least every six months. Soldiers exceeding the screening table weight, or identified by their command for a special evaluation because their appearance suggests excessive body fat, will have their body fat composition determined by the circumference-based tape method.

It is important personnel performing the tape test know and understand the procedures as outlined in AR 600-9, All Army Activities 237/2008, and ALARACT 248/2010.

Failure to follow proper procedures could result in inaccurate body fat percentage records. Every effort will be made for Soldiers to be measured by individuals of the same gender. If this cannot be accomplished a female Soldier will be present when males measure females.

If a Soldier's body fat percentage exceeds the maximum allowable percent body fat standards, then the Soldier will be counseled by the unit commander that he/she has been entered into the

AWCP, and flagged according to AR 600-8-2, Suspension of Favorable Personnel Actions.

The effective date of entry into the AWCP is the same day the Soldier is counseled. It is important commanders follow the procedures as outline in Paragraph 3-2 of AR 600-9 upon entering a Soldier into the AWCP. Samples of correspondence are included in that section. Soldiers who have been on active duty less than one year will not be enrolled into the AWCP.

Although Soldiers can be separated from the Army for not making satisfactory progress (a loss of 3 to 8 pounds per month), the overall intent of the AWCP is to get Soldiers back into compliance with the standards and to determine if there are any underlying medical reasons for Soldier non-compliance.

Every leader should set the example by ensuring he/she meets and maintains the standards at all times and by providing education and motivational programs to encourage Soldiers to attain and maintain proper weight and body fat standards.

The bottom line is every Soldier has an individual responsibility to meet and maintain the standards so together all can be "Fit to Fight."

Page last updated Thu November 1st, 2012 at 16:28