The Army is home to some of the fittest men and women in the world, but the branch recently made its body fat standards even stricter. Now, male recruits between the ages of 17 and 20 have to maintain a body fat percentage below 24 percent before beginning basic training, while female recruits have to be below 30 percent.
The change in policy brings the standard back to where it was in 2005. Officials felt that the youngest recruits were becoming more likely to be overweight. Male recruits between 17 and 20 are required to have a body fat percentage of 20 percent six months after they finish basic training, and this change is expected to help them get there.
"The change was made because it was found that soldiers in that category were over-represented in being flagged for overweight six and 12 months after training," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Peters, chief of Health Promotions Policy.
Aside from making the entry level body fat percentages more stringent, the Army has also instituted a nutrition-based initiative to help soldiers keep off the pounds. Dubbed "Go For Green," each food item gets labeled a certain color (red, amber, green) depending on how healthy it is.