By Hunter Rhoades Center for Initial Military Training
FORT EUSTIS, VA – The U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training (USACIMT), together with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), is leading the facilitation of a comprehensive body composition study examining 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 scientifically and ethically approved study will examine active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve Soldiers representing diverse backgrounds, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, and Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) 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.
The first part of the study data collection will be conducted at Fort Bragg, N.C., from Oct. 18-29, 2021. Additional sites will be selected as needed to ensure the study is inclusive of a diverse population.
The Holistic Health and Fitness system is an investment in every Soldier’s personal readiness and is a commitment to our people by protecting their health and ensuring their readiness to fight and win our Nation’s wars.