In accordance with All Army Activity (ALARACT) directive 113/2012, the Army announced recently the Surgeon General has reduced the body fat standards by two percent for male recruits between 17-20 years of age who enlisted after May 16. This means they must have a body fat percentage of 24 or less before they begin basic training. Female recruits in the same age category must have a body fat percentage of 30 or less. Officers and warrant officers are not given any initial leeway for their age category when they begin service.
This change has put body fat standards for males and females 17-20 years of age back to levels that existed prior to 2005. The standards have not changed in all other age categories or for the active and Reserve components. Lt. Col. Jennifer Peters, Health Promotions Policy, Army G-1 Chief, told David Vergun of Army News Service, "the change was made because it was found that Soldiers in that category were over-represented for being flagged for overweight six and 12 months after training." She added that no other decisions have been made regarding changes to standards within the entire Army but that "everything is being looked at."
Along with the body fat standard change there's another change. Previously, new recruits were required to meet retention body fat standards one year from date of entry onto active duty. But now they must meet the retention body fat standards of Army Regulation 600-9 six months from the date of entry onto active duty. However, new recruits who enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program on or before May 16 and enter active duty on or before Sept. 30; and new enlistees who entered the Army Reserve or Army National Guard on or before May 16 and start active duty for training on or before Sept. 30 will be allowed one year to meet the retention body fat standards.
The weight of recruits has been steadily going up over the last decade according to Peters. She said this mirrors the population the enlistees are recruited from. In an effort to assist young Soldiers, the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) labels foods in dining facilities that keep the fat off .