Marine Corps Body Composition Program: The Flawed Measurement System
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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The Marine Corps Body Composition Program BCP is designed to shift focus from heightweight tables to body fat measurements to eliminate weight control program inconsistencies due to local interpretation and implementation, while providing a more appropriate focus on health and fitness and reducing the time and manpower associated with the administration of the program. The program not only eliminates an unrealistic no tolerance height and weight standard, it allows Marines with different body compositions to be held to the same Marine Corps standards as their peers, regardless of their shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, however, the tape measurement system used by the BCP to determine a Marines body fat percentage is the least accurate of all methods currently being utilized in the medical world. Forms of body fat testing range from inaccurate heightweight tables to the highly accurate method of Hydrostatic Weighing Hydrodensitometry, Underwater Weighing, Dunk tank. The cost of these methods ranges from zero dollars to 100 per test for Hydrostatic Weighing. Because the Marine Corps and the DoD do not have the budget for Hydrostatic Weighing, something in between that encompasses the needsrequirements of the military at an affordable price is needed. In Joe Kings article, he evaluates and researches 13 different methods of testing body fat, and discusses the logistics and prices involved with each. Out of the methods he evaluates, he identifies the Calipers skin fold Method as being the happy medium between accuracy and pricing. The Calipers Method measures skin folds to calculate the amount of subcutaneous fat a person has. This number is then entered into an equation to predict the body density and then body fat percentage.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Military Forces and Organizations