Army to implement new tape test to gauge body fat on soldiers



The Army has adopted a new system to test it’s soldiers health which in turn is supposed to help measure fitness by body fat percentage.

The new test was approved on June 12th by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, and will be a single measurement approach for all soldiers in the same place on their bodies; waste, male solders will be measured at the waist and neck, while female troops will be measured at their hips.

The new implementation of this measurement follows the results of a study done by the Army on body fat composition in 2021.

The new system is expected to gradually work it’s way into standard protocol through the course of this year. Soldiers who do fail the new test will be permitted to request the old test up until June 2024.

Soldiers who score a 540 or higher on the Army Combat Fitness Test will not be required to take the tape test, and can skip them all together.

Before the change, the Army’s previous taping method was widely considered outdated and inaccurate as research done showed that only 65% of the time was the test ended in an accurate result. These outdated tests were shown to be disproportionately affecting female soldiers, which makes sense as males, and females have different body anatomy and structures. Some said they felt compelled to take drastic health measure just to pass taping tests.

“I’ve seen people hit themselves in the neck thinking it will kind of cause it to swell up, or they’ll put their tongue at the top of their mouth … If you can get your neck bigger and your waist smaller, then you’re giving yourself every possible advantage,” an army major told Task & Purpose in 2021. 

The new taping system implementation is also meant to reflect the the Army’s emphasis on muscle building, and therefore broader shoulders, necks, and hips as a measure of fitness.

“We want well-balanced soldiers,” Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston said in March. “We didn’t want people to game it so you’d be really strong in one area, but you wouldn’t be well-rounded in fitness overall.”

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