# United States Military Body Fat Standards

There is no maximum weight to join or stay in the military, but different branches of the military do have standards for body-fat percentages. However, it takes more time to measure body fat than it does to weigh someone, so each of the branches have weight charts they use to screen members. If a military member weighs more than the allowed weight on the chart, they are measured for body-fat percentage.

Body-fat standards are used to determine initial qualification for enlistment/accession and also to determine whether or not a member continues to meet required standards after joining. Military members are periodically weighed (and measured, if necessary) throughout their careers. Those found to be over their body-fat limits are entered into a mandatory weight loss program. Those who fail to maintain required body-fat standards are subject to administrative sanctions which can include reprimands, denial of promotions, administrative demotion in rank, and even administrative discharge.

The Air Force uses weight/body fat measurements only for initial entry, and a body-composition measurement is an integrated component of the Air Force Physical Fitness Test. Individuals who exceed the maximum weights are measured for a body-fat percentage.

## Body-Fat Procedures

The Department of Defense formula to compute body-fat percentage is somewhat complicated. For males, the formula is % body fat = 86.010 x log10(abdomen - neck) - 70.041 x log10(height) + 36.76. For females, the formula is % body fat = 163.205 x log10(waist + hip - neck) - 97.684 x log10(height) - 78.387.

However, you don't have to worry about that, as the DOD has prepared charts based on the above formula that can be used to look up body-fat percentages after taking the proper measurements.

## Measurements (Male)

• Abdomen: Measure abdominal circumference against the skin at the navel (belly button), level and parallel to the floor. Arms are at the sides. Record the measurement at the end of a member's normal, relaxed exhalation. Round abdominal measurement down to the nearest ½ inch.
• Neck: Measure the neck circumference at a point just below the larynx (Adam's Apple) and perpendicular to the long axis of the neck. Do not place the tape measure over the Adam's Apple. The service member should look straight ahead during measurement, with shoulders down (not hunched). The tape will be as close to horizontal as anatomically feasible (the tape line in the front of the neck should be at the same height as the tape line in the back of the neck). Care should be taken so as not to involve the shoulder/neck muscles (trapezius) in the measurement. Round neck measurement up to the nearest ½ inch. Subtract the neck measurement from the abdomen measurement.

## Measurements (Female)

• Neck: Measure neck circumference at a point just below the larynx (Adam's Apple) and perpendicular to the long axis of the neck. The service member should look straight ahead during measurement, with shoulders down (not hunched). Round the neck measurement up to nearest ½ inch.
• Waist: Measure the natural waist circumference, against the skin, at the point of the minimal abdominal circumference, usually located about halfway between the navel and the lower end of the sternum (breastbone). When you cannot easily see this site, take several measurements at probable sites and use the smallest value. Be sure that the tape is level and parallel to the floor. The service member's arms must be at the sides. Take measurements at the end of member's normal relaxed exhalation. Round the natural waist measurement down to the nearest ½ inch.
• Hip: Measure the hip circumference while facing the Service member's right side by placing the tape around the hips so that it passes over the greatest protrusion of the gluteal muscles (buttocks) as viewed from the side. Make sure the tape is level and parallel to the floor. Apply sufficient tension on the tape to minimize the effect of clothing. Round the hip measurement down to the nearest ½ inch. Add the waist and hip measurements together, then subtract the neck measurements.

## Body Fat Measurements

Army (New Recruit Standards):

• Male 17-20: 24%
• Male 21-27: 26%
• Male 28-39: 28%
• Male 40+: 30%
• Female 17-20: 30%
• Female 21-27: 32%
• Female 28-39: 34%
• Female 40 +: 36%

Army (Standards After Boot Camp):

• Male 17-20: 20%
• Male 21-27: 22%
• Male 28-39: 24%
• Male 40+: 26%
• Female 17-20: 28%
• Female 21-27: 30%
• Female 28-39: 32%
• Female 40+: 34%

Air Force (New Recruit Standards):

• Male 17-29: 20%
• Male 30 +: 24%
• Female 17-29: 28%
• Female 30 +: 32%

Air Force (Standards After Boot Camp):

The Air Force no longer measures body fat after basic training. Instead, "Body Composition" is an integrated part of the overall Air Force Fitness Test.

## Body Fat Charts for Males

The tables below are derived from DOD Instruction 1308.3, "DoD Physical Fitness and Body Fat Programs Procedures."

## Body Fat Charts for Females

The tables below are derived from DOD Instruction 1308.3, "DoD Physical Fitness and Body Fat Programs Procedures."

## Body Fat Measurements

Army (New Recruit Standards):

• Male 17-20: 24%
• Male 21-27: 26%
• Male 28-39: 28%
• Male 40+: 30%
• Female 17-20: 30%
• Female 21-27: 32%
• Female 28-39: 34%
• Female 40 +: 36%

Army (Standards After Boot Camp):

• Male 17-20: 20%
• Male 21-27: 22%
• Male 28-39: 24%
• Male 40+: 26%
• Female 17-20: 28%
• Female 21-27: 30%
• Female 28-39: 32%
• Female 40+: 34%

Air Force (New Recruit Standards):

• Male 17-29: 20%
• Male 30 +: 24%
• Female 17-29: 28%
• Female 30 +: 32%

Air Force (Standards After Boot Camp):

The Air Force no longer measures body fat after basic training. Instead, "Body Composition" is an integrated part of the overall Air Force Fitness Test.

## Body Fat Charts for Males

The below tables are derived from DOD Instruction 1308.3, "DOD Physical Fitness and Body Fat Programs Procedures."

## Body Fat Charts for Females

The below tables are derived from DOD Instruction 1308.3, "DOD Physical Fitness and Body Fat Programs Procedures."