(RepublicanNews.org) – At a price of $15,000 to $100,000, the United States Army has decided to forego purchasing scanners that accurately measure the body fat percentage of troops. The military service will instead be employing an updated and less expensive tape test to guide officers in gauging a soldier’s physical fitness.
The updated test will measure soldiers around their waists at a singular point. Past body fat percentage tests measured soldiers at three points – around their necks, waists, and hips. The prior 3-point tests were deemed as poor gauges of overall physical fitness according to critics.
Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston, the Army’s highest-ranking NCO, led the service’s research into the new tape test system. Grinston said that upon being assigned to the position, he was inundated with questions about the Army Combat Fitness Test and body fat composition. Grinston said the tests that were in place affected females disproportionately and gave inaccurate body fat compliance readings about 35% of the time. The results were found after studying more than 2,600 soldiers.
Previous standards for the Army’s fitness test gave soldiers a target weight that was based on age, gender, and height. New standards based on waist measurements are said to simplify the process. According to research, about 10% of soldiers serving are overweight.
Critics of the Army’s overhaul have said that this is the latest in a series of decreasing standards for physical fitness and combat readiness. In 2021, it was found that nearly half of female service members were failing their fitness tests. In 2022, the Army lowered the fitness requirements for both female and aging soldiers.
Soldiers are required to take the ACFT twice per year. The course is broken down into 6 events and consists of push-ups, planks, hurling a 10-pound ball, deadlifts, weighted sprints, and a timed 2-mile run. Soldiers are said to see the test as easier than prior versions.
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