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The U.S. Army publishes new regulations every few years regarding the Army’s physical fitness standards. The Army body fat calculator is part of the U.S. Army’s Standards of Medical Fitness. It provides a means for determining body fat percentages and whether a person meets or exceeds the Army’s standards.
The Army body fat calculator requires inputting gender, height, and age, as well as neck and abdomen measurements. Once a person's body fat has been calculated, the value can be compared with the Department of Defense’s maximum allowable body fat percentages for the armed services. An accurate record of body measurements for the Army body fat calculator requires a person to stand upright and relaxed, with arms hanging naturally alongside the body. The neck measurement is taken just below the larynx, while the waist is measured around the navel, where the circumference is largest. Body fat measurements should be taken several times to ensure accuracy, and then an average of the measurements — rounded to the nearest quarter-inch — should be used.
The Department of Defense requires males between the ages of 17 and 27 to have less than 26 percent body fat, while females in this age range should have less than 32 percent body fat. Males ages 28 to 39 must have less than 28 percent body fat, and females should be under 34 percent. The maximum allowable body fat percentage for males over 40 is 30 percent, while females in this age group are allowed 38 percent. In the Army’s Standards of Medical Fitness, the Department of Defense references its more rigorous body fat goal, preferring males to have 18 percent or less body fat and females to have 26 percent or less.
The Army also releases standards people must meet after boot camp. These standards are approximately 2 percent lower in each age group compared to the higher maximum allowable body fat percentages for new recruits. The Army expects recruits to lose body fat and gain lean muscle tissue with the rigorous boot camp training required.
The U.S. Army’s body fat requirements are less stringent than those of the other U.S. armed forces. The Marine Corps, for example, requires male recruits to have 18 percent or less body fat. Female Marine recruits must have less than 26 percent. Likewise, the Navy requires all new male recruits to have less than 23 percent body fat, though females are allowed 34 percent. The Army body fat calculator is available as an online application and can also be downloaded for desktop usage.
So what happens if a person's body fat is higher than the standards allowed by the army? Are they punished somehow? Does the army put them on a diet or force them to exercise?