Next phase of Army body composition study to collect data from Soldiers at U.S. Army Garrison West Point

By Hunter RhoadesMay 2, 2022

The next phase of data collection for the U.S. Army’s Body Composition Study will take place at U.S. Army Garrison West Point, NY from May 2-4.

The study will focus on collecting data from Soldiers assigned to West Point’s tenant units, to include Keller Army Community Hospital, Military Police, and the U.S. Military Academy faculty and staff. Though not the focus of this data collection, the study may also include some cadet candidates from the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School as well as cadets from the United States Corps of Cadets to help ensure the study is representative of a diverse population.

The study previously collected data at Fort Bragg, N.C. in October 2021 and at Fort Lee, Va. in February 2022, with plans to collect data at an additional site later this summer focused on National Guard and Reserve Soldiers.

The U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training (USACIMT), with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) as the scientific lead, is conducting the comprehensive study to examine the association between body composition and Soldier physical performance.

The results of the study will help inform potential future changes to the Army Body Composition Program.

The study is part of the Army’s efforts to optimize Holistic Health and Fitness and improve Soldier readiness. It has been more than 30 years since the Army first started using body fat standards in place of height and weight tables. A re-examination of the force is needed as the Army's physical readiness programs evolve to reduce injuries and empower Soldiers’ to perform basic Soldier tasks.

The scientific study will examine active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve Soldiers representing diverse backgrounds, including age, gender, race/ethnicity, and physical demand categories and duties.

During the study, researchers will assess body size and composition by measuring Soldiers’ height, weight, circumferences, and body composition and examine them in relationship to their most recent physical fitness score (either the ACFT or APFT) as well as the dates and types of physical limitations due to injury. For women, the study will also look at the number and dates of pregnancies, as well as delivery methods, and first post-partum physical fitness score and ABCP record, if applicable.

The study will use four measurement techniques to assess body composition: (1) standard AR 600-9 tape test, (2) dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), (3) three-dimensional total body scanning (3D scanning), and (4) bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA).

The study will examine the associations of these four measurements with physical performance and compare them to the current AR 600-9 circumference measurements. Additional information will provide relationships between type and duty time loss due to injury or pregnancy and associations to body composition and physical performance.