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The DOD policy differentiates standards
for men and women due to well-established
physiological gender differences in body fat. The
standard stipulates that active-duty men must
maintain %BF between 18 and 26, and women
must maintain %BF between 26 and 36.
" The most common way to estimate the
amount of a person's body that is fat is called
the body mass index, " says Jones. " BMI is
calculated using a person's height and weight.
It is a quick, inexpensive, and scientificallyaccepted
screening tool to identify overweight
and obese individuals. "
The four classification levels, which apply to
all men and women of the general population
who are more than 20 years of age, define
a BMI less than 18.5 as underweight, a BMI
between 18.5 and 24.9 as normal or healthy, a
BMI between 25 and 29.9 as overweight, and a
BMI over 30 as obese.
BMI has compared relatively well with
the more accurate measures of %BF, such
as air-displacement plethysmography,
water displacement, or dual-energy x-ray
absorptiometry.
While BMI has value as a screening tool, it
poses limitations as an exact measurement of
body fat for some individuals, says Jones.
For example, because BMI does not reflect
how fat is distributed, the index can't identify
those who carry most fat in their waists, which
can mean greater adverse health risk. A waist
circumference measurement may provide an
indication of long-term health risk but will be
misleading if not adjusted for height.
Also, BMI does not account for lean body
mass, which is the portion of a person's
weight from body components other than fat,
including muscles. Because of this, a very fit
muscular person who weighs the same as a
Soldiers with higher BMIs tend to
perform better on strength and
power tests ... while soldiers with
lower BMIs perform better on
aerobic events. "
- Dr. Joseph Pierce
non-muscular, thick-waisted person of the same
height will have the same BMI!
It is also possible for a healthy, muscular
person to have a BMI that is slightly above the
NIH/WHO/CDC " normal " range and not be
truly " overweight. " Studies have shown that
persons who fall into this category represent a
small percentage of the overall population, and
they usually exceed acceptable or normal BMI
standards only slightly.
Because all of the NIH/WHO/CDC BMI
classifications apply to adults, regardless of
their age, fitness, or gender, the Army sets
its own standards for Soldier acquisition and
retention.
Army standards, referred to as weight-forheight
standards, differ slightly from the NIH/
WHO BMI classifications in that the former
includes a small portion of men whose BMI
would place them in the NIH/WHO/CDC
" overweight " range. This adjustment, which
extends the " normal " range for soldiers to a BMI
of 27.5, accommodates the potential greater
muscle mass of some soldiers.
Tyson Grier, an APHC Injury Prevention
Branch kinesiologist who has studied the use
of BMI among soldiers, says that despite the
Army's adjustment, a higher BMI generally
indicates more fat mass, not more muscle mass.
" A soldier with a BMI between 25 and 27.5
places them in the low end of the general
population overweight BMI category, but their
tacticaltrainingandconditioning.com | 15
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Spring 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Spring 2022

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