U.S. Army to evaluate relationship between body composition and physical fitness

By Hunter RhoadesJuly 6, 2022

The next data collection phase for the U.S. Army's Body Composition Study will occur at Fort Lee, Va., July 15-22.

The study previously collected data at Fort Lee in February of this year, as well as from Fort Bragg, N.C. and West Point, NY.

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 study's results 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 scientifically and ethically approved 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, delivery methods, 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.

The Holistic Health and Fitness system is an investment in every Soldier's readiness. It is a commitment to our people by protecting their health and ensuring their readiness to fight and win our Nation's wars.

Soldiers interested in volunteering for the study should reach out to their chain of command or contact CIMT directly at cimtpao@gmail.com.