The Army Body Composition Program (formerly the Weight Control Program - WCP) requires Army personnel to maintain a certain body weight and fat percentage. Having reasonable weight and fitness standards helps soldiers handle the demands of their work in the field and reduces injury rates during training cycles and deployments.
Oftentimes body composition issues can affect the attitude and morale of the individual soldier and the unit to which he or she belongs. Soldiers are weighed at least twice per year (usually in conjunction with the Army Physical Fitness Test, to ensure they meet Army standards for weight and fitness.
Exceeding Army Body Fat Standards
Soldiers who exceed the maximum weight shown on the charts below during an exam will be measured for body-fat content. If they exceed the Army's body fat standards, they'll be put on a weight management program, which provides guidance to lose weight at a healthy pace.
Those who fail to make satisfactory progress while in the weight management program may be subject to involuntary discharge.
If you fall below the minimum weight shown in that column of the table, you will be referred by your commander for immediate medical evaluation. If possible, it's best to try to get into top physical shape before joining the Army or other branches of the U.S. military, making it easier to stay fit, rather than always trying to just meet the minimum standards. The standards are different for men and women.
Male Weight to Height Table - Screening Table Weight
|Height (inches)||Weight (pounds)||Age 17-20||Age 21-27||Age 28-39||Age 40+|
For heights over 80 inches, add six pounds per inch for males.
Army Maximum Body Fat Standards for Men
Age 17-20 = 20 percent
Age 21-27 = 22 percent
Age 28-39 = 24 percent
Age 40+ = 26 percent
Female Weight to Height Table - Screening Table Weight
|Weight (pounds)||Height (inches)||Age 17-20||Age 21-27||Age 28-39||Age 40 plus|
For heights over 80 inches, add five pounds per inch for females.
Army Maximum Body Fat Standards for Women
Age 17-20 = 30 percent
Age 21-27 = 32 percent
Age 28-39 = 34 percent
Age 40+ = 36 percent
Staying Fit in the Army
Keeping within the height and weight standards of the Army are mandatory for all active duty and reserve soldiers. For most Army jobs there's enough physical activity involved to ensure that a soldier's weight and body fat composition stays low, but for those assigned to desk duty, it's best to get into a regular physical fitness regimen to avoid putting on extra unwanted pounds.
The Army does not allow individual soldiers to have poor body composition for a prolonged period of time, as it may cause disruption to his unit.
For the individual soldier who is overweight, performance declines and the risk of developing work-related injury increases. They're also at higher risk of long-term disease.
Graduate rates from basic are also tied to similar statistics also yielding a greater chance of injury and failure to complete training.