Mathematical Modeling of Anthropometrically Based Body Fat for Military Health and Performance Applications
This chapter summarizes the scientific basis of military body composition standards and military contributions to the science of body composition assessment. The Marines were the first to implement a set of circumference-based body fat standards. The Air Force was the only service that provided base commander discretion in the final determination of actions against an overfat service member, essentially taking the teeth out of the body composition regulation. In the Army Body Composition Study, strength performance was measured with an incremental dynamic lift device and aerobic performance was measured with a treadmill-based maximal aerobic test. The method of body fat assessment has been challenged on a regular basis and in a periodic cycle of institutional amnesia. The military has been a pace setter in body composition studies and development of methodologies that have been vital to modern nutrition research. The anthropometric method of fat estimation is inextricably linked to the goals of the military; thus, the method is the standard.