US Army: Obese Soldiers Can Stay in Service with High ACFT Score

Faced with recruiters’ struggle to meet quotas, the US Army will reportedly cancel weight limits for its troops so obese soldiers will no longer have to meet weight limits if they score well on fitness tests.

In a sharp swerve from the decades of history where US troops were evaluated based on the dreaded “tape test” – that tracked weight and body dimensions – obese soldiers will be allowed to stay in the service and continue to be eligible for promotions if they score well enough on the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test), which includes such exercises as deadlifting and a two-mile run.

The so-called tape test – measuring their necks and waists – was given to determine their body-fat percentage to troops who exceed the weight limit for their height. Depending on their age category, the fat limits range from 20% to 26% for men and 30% to 26% for women.

The weigh-ins were historically required by the Army at least every six months. The exemption from weight limits is intended only for soldiers who score at least 540 out of 600 on the ACFT.

Troops who are considered too fat are barred from reenlistment, promotion, transfers, or eligibility to attend professional schools. The adjustment could enable the Army to retain veteran troops who might otherwise be thrown out for being obese.

According to, the rule change was revealed on Wednesday by Sergeant Major Michael Grinston, the Army’s highest-ranking enlisted leader, at an Army conference in Washington.

Since it hasn’t been decided when the rule changes will go into effect, Grinston said that other changes to policies relating to weight are being considered and will be finalized by June. It’s also not clear whether the new rules will apply to new recruits.

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