Under the Radar

Sound Off: Are Navy Fitness Standards Going to Pot?



After years of complaints from sailors, the Navy has finally relaxed some of its requirements and issued new physical fitness standards this week. "Wait," say the old veterans, "we complained about fitness standards but we manned up and got the job done. These kids are SOFT!"

The Navy begs to disagree and claims that it's trying to "strike a better balance between health and physical readiness."  The new standards recognize a variety of body types, including weightlifters and women and aims to keep the Navy from losing so many sailors to a regimented and outdated testing process.

The Navy lost 1,500 sailors last year after they were unable to pass under the old fitness standards. The new system should help the branch retain more men and women after it invests time and money training recruits.

Among the changes:

  • An updated physical activity risk factor questionnaire.
  • A sliding scale for body fat ratio that increases with age.
  • Changes to the body composition assessment, or BCA, with three different ways for a sailor to pass.
  • A reduction in the number of failures leading to separation to two failures in three years, from three failures in four years.

There will be three ways for a sailor to pass the BCA, accounting for different body types and age.

  1. The first is to have an acceptable height-weight ratio.
  2. If the sailor fails that, an abdominal circumference measurement will be taken. A male sailor must not exceed 39 inches; a female sailor, 36 inches.
  3. If a sailor fails the first two, a measurement will be taken to assess percentage of body fat. The maximum for males is 26 percent, for females, 36 percent.

So what do you think? Take our survey and leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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