The Body Composition Pilot Program offers additional opportunities for active duty and reserve members to demonstrate compliance with Coast Guard readiness standards including a new abdominal circumference, fitness test, and also better connects medical professionals to the health assessment. Recent studies show abdominal circumference is a more accurate measurement of overall health risk than the standard taping methods. During this one year period, we will collect data to make future policy decisions that improve the personal readiness of our workforce.
The program will help Coast Guard men and women meet the service's operational needs and challenges while also maintaining healthy weights and body fat percentages.
Historically, 17 percent of all active duty and reserve personnel weigh-ins require the use of body measuring or taping.
A one-year pilot program using additional opportunities for compliance will begin October 1st, 2019.
"The Coast Guard's greatest strength resides in our people, and it is incumbent that our leadership ensures alignment of policy to recruiting, training, and retaining the modern military workforce required to perform today's challenging missions," said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. "The Body Composition Pilot Program is the result of proactively listening to our service members, addressing potential inequities, and seeking solutions to ensure the health and wellness of our workforce."
The RAND Women's Retention Study and Holistic Analysis identified an existing policy that resulted in inequitable outcomes based on gender. This imbalance in body composition standards ultimately disproportionately impacted women at a rate three times higher than men.
Per the diagram, abdominal circumference or the legacy body fat assessment (standard taping) are methods for compliance if a member exceeds Maximum Allowable Weight (MAW). If neither taping standard is met, a Physical Fitness Test (PFT) is another opportunity to achieve compliance if the member is determined to be medically fit. The goals of the policy are designed to ensure that all Coast Guard personnel are:
- Maintaining a healthy weight and body fat percentage.
- Capable of meeting the organization's operational needs and challenges.
- Present a sharp professional military appearance.