ARLINGTON, Va. – The U.S. Army has published a new directive called “Army Body Fat Assessment for the Army Body Composition Program” that will make immediate changes to the Army Body Composition Program. The directive, which is based on the results, findings and recommendations from the Army's recent Comprehensive Body Composition study, includes guidance on the Army’s new tape test methodology, which will yield more consistent and accurate estimates of Soldiers’ body fat and fitness.
“For years, we have been committed to reducing body fat across the force,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston, “It’s one of the driving factors in supporting the Holistic Health and Fitness program, as well as one of the reasons to request a study on the Army Body Composition Program.”
The U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training partnered with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and consulted with other subject matter experts for modifications to the Army Body Composition Program.
“The Army is continuously refining programs through research and Soldier feedback to improve readiness and lethality,” said Grinston.
The new guidance requires tape testing at only one site on the body, and the use of a corresponding calculation model for all Soldiers. The height and weight screening table will remain as the first line assessment.
Although the one-site tape test will be implemented immediately, Soldiers will be still authorized to use the body multisite circumference-based tape method as their confirmation body fat assessment for 12 months after the date of the new directive.
Soldiers who fail the circumference-based tape methods will be flagged, but they may request a supplemental body fat assessment if the means for such testing is reasonably available.
“The Army wants to ensure it accounts for the whole Soldier concept,” said Maj. Serena Staples, health promotion policy officer for the Army Resilience Directorate. “The new policy is intended to give Soldiers a more accurate assessment of their health and fitness and to increase their knowledge of available health resources.”
Data has shown that Soldiers with a lower body fat percentage scored higher on the Army Combat Fitness Test and had fewer muscular skeletal injuries. The changes in this directive will increase the readiness of the force by helping to ensure that all Soldiers maintain the level of physical readiness necessary to perform their duties.