Army Weight Control Regulation R-600 and ROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Fastpitch, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. Fastpitch

    Fastpitch Member

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    Hi. I don't post too often, but I heard from my daughter that some cadets she knew from last year are no longer in ROTC this year. They couldn't pass the weight/tape test and are out.

    So I googled about that to see how big of a problem it is. I usually see posts here about cadets getting disenrolled because of failure to pass the PT test, or grades, or getting arrested, etc. but it looks like weight might be the biggest problem of all.

    "Soldiers use extreme methods to meet regs: Diet pills, laxatives, liposuction: Everyone is trying to meet the Army’s weight, tape standards"http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/12/army-extreme-weight-loss-120510w/

    Here is the Regulation I found: http://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/pdf/r600_9.pdf

    What do you all think about the Army Times article (especially what soldiers (including higher officers) or cadets do to try to meet the wieght standard?
     
  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Your right, the Height/Weight issue is one that is often overlooked by applicants and future cadets.

    You will no doubt here from a poster on this board who's son was removed from ROTC just weeks before he was to commission due to being over the weight limit, the cost is enormous because he was on scholarship.

    Weight can be a big issue for some cadets, even more for the cadet that requires taping.

    In the past 4 years I haven't heard that any cadets were removed because of weight at my son's battalion, this year could be the first though. A current MS4 came back 20 lbs over the weight limit, I'm not sure how that's even possible considering he went to LDAC. This cadet has his work cut out for him if he wants to commission.

    It seems that female cadets struggle with the weight issue, not because of anything they are doing, but because when the female cadets build muscle mass it really seems to mess with the weight and taping. These women are by no means overweight, they are carrying more muscle weight.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Fastpitch, we have a poster here that their DS was handed a 143K bill 6 weeks prior to commissioning as a Naval officer because they were 8 lbs over the limit only 9 months ago. Gojira can testify personally it happens.

    To add onto Jcleppe's post, women also have an issue when they are AD that men don't. Post pregnancy weight. I have known many women that obsess over this issue not only while they are pregnant, but after giving birth.
     
  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    I kind of have mixed feelings about this. I had to lose about ten pounds second semester in order to commission Marine Corps. As it is, I still need to be very careful about my weight and am usually right near the limits. I'm not super skinny, but I'm not visibly overweight and do well on the PFT and other physical events. The last PFT Marines still TAD at USNA took before reporting to TBS was followed by height/weight...and myself and a couple other females (including at least one who got a perfect 300) immediately went to the gym after the run to sweat out the last pound or two necessary.

    So obviously it's an imperfect system and probably similarly so in the Army.

    BUT.

    The standards are out there and published. Does the military need to change the way body fat is measured? Absolutely. But it's no secret what the standard is, and you have to get there. That's the bottom line. For some people, including myself, it's harder because of the way they're built or their body type. Until it changes though, the standard is the standard and to commission you have to meet it.
     
  5. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    wow, I had never seen all the details on that. I'm wondering why they do those tables and measurements, which are quite crude with today's technologies. If body fat % makes or breaks a career as was stated in the artilcle, then invest a $10,000 or $20,000 or whatever it costs, per Army base, and have available one of those water tanks where a soldier submerges, and it tells you your actual, true, exact body fat %. In that way shorter/stockier body types would pass whereas they fail now. And maybe some streched out thin boned types that pass now would find out they have a lot more fat packed onto those skinny bones and muscles that it appears.

    Not that this affects that many people, but they really need to also adjust for a females breast size. The fat resident in the female breast has zero to do with health, and the weight of a pair of D of larger cup breast can be five pounds more than the weight of a pair of A cup breasts. Sorry for being graphic, but it seems like it's a relevant issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  6. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    When we weighed in, twice, I was surprised by the amount of ppl that were either overweight/borderline overweight or way underweight. It was mostly the guys that were underweight, one kid was 14 pounds under(on scholarship), while alot of the girls were either overweight or really pushing it. My max weight for my height is 165 and I'm 20+ pounds under that, even lost a couple pounds unintentionally what with the increased physical activity and being too busy to eat lunch much of the time. However, there were quite a few girls shorter than me who were in the 160s or close to it, a few on scholarship. At least, they were, Idk what happened because I was the only female on scholarship to contract last week out of a group of 11 or 12. It does seem odd the way they calculate body fat %. I've taped myself and my bf% that way is a a far cry from my bf% when using a tool designed to measure bf% since I have a small waist, large hips and a good bit of muscle. Luckily I'm still within regs regardless, but there are quite a few ppl at my det who are built differently, yet still in great shape, that are going to have to take harsh measures just to make weight by the end of the semester.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Non Ducor Duco,

    Our DS for the 4 yrs in AFROTC was always taped 2x a yr because he was underweight. When he went to SFT, he was told lose more than 3-5 lbs and you are in trouble for being too thin which may result in medical DQ.
     
  8. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    You only have to look at college or Olympic wrestlers, both at 8% body fat, to know that at a given weight class, say 163 lbs, you can have one at 76", and one at 63". So the weight tables are useless in this case. So, you go to taping to guesstimate body fat. I say guesstimate because neither the weight tables, nor the taping, actually measures body fat. They are both estimates based on national averages. So you tape both of these wrestlers... the 74" wrestler is OK via the height weight standrds in AR 600-R. The 63" wrestler is of a very stocky build, plus has added about 30 lbs of lean muscle to his frame with training. The 63" wrestler's chest is big and round, and so too is his abdomen... but with 10% body fat. The 63" wrestler fails the taping test, not because of body fat % (which at 10% is at half of the allowable 20% for 21 yr. old males), but because of a body shape that is statistically uncommon.

    My point is, if body fat % is the metric, then measure body fat % the correct way, not by using statistical tables form MetLife from 1928 (or whatever year it was), or taping abdomen-neck for men, or abdomen+hips-neck for women, that doesn't take into account the SHAPE of a very stocky body vs. a very thin one --- let's say the outer edge 10% of the statistical curve for both thinness, or stockiness, at a given body fat %. For a female, the current taping method makes no accounting for the different shape of the gluteal or thigh muscles (this area is not measured for males). Some have thin gluts and thighs (sort of like a long distance runner), some very large gluts and thighs, sort of like a weight lifter.

    Take two 66" female cadets with 25% body fat (as measured by a scientific body fat % method that takes into account body shape). The thin body shape has measurements of 13neck,27"waist,39" hips. This thin body shape cadet shows 25% body fat per the taping tables in AR 600-9. The stocky cadet's measurements are 14neck,27"waist, 45" hips. The stocky cadet has 31% body fat per the taping tables, almost completely because she has muscular gluts and thighs. Per the taping guesstimate tables, the runner is in the middle of Standard at 25% BF%, and the stocky cadet is overweight at 31% of BF%.

    I was curious and googled "measuring body fat %" and found this page that describes about ten ways of measuring body fat %. None of the methods involves a height/weight statistical table, or a tape measuring statistical table. http://new-fitness.com/body_fat_analyzing.html

    I am not criticizing the goal of having soldiers combat ready and physically healthy. Nor am I commenting on the limits --- that for a 21 year old, 20% is the upper limit for a male, and 30% for a female. Every soldier, whether serving in a field hospital, or in an intelligence office in Virginia, needs to be available and ready to deploy into front line combat, or any other area where physical fitness is a requirement... ie. there really are no "desk jobs", and lives could be on the line at any moment. Body fat % is a critical part of that objective.

    I am saying that if good people who want to serve, enlisted or commissioned, and are outside the guesstimate height/weight tables or outside the guesstimate taping method, then go to the next step and truly measure their body fat % in the scientific way... with the water tank, MRI, or any of the methods described in my link above. It just doesn't make sense to guesstimate by either imprecise method in a matter that is so critical to careers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  9. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    The technology to get an accurate measurement is not particularly expensive. Your article mentions this technology...

    We actually own such a device built into a scale (my wife uses it - it would laugh at me). It has 2 handles attached to retractable cables that you hold out while standing bare-foot (required for conduction of small current). You have to enter your height and other facts into it IIRC (it keeps track of up to 4 people's info). When you weigh in, the display shows how it is running current between the 4 various contacts (2 feet and 2 hands) and returns a report of body fat %, and your weight divided into bone/fat/muscle. We bought it a few years back and it was somewhere between $200 and $300. It clearly wouldn't be built for rough use, but what I'm saying is that the technology isn't particularly expensive (although tape measures are really cheap).

    What I'm afraid though is that with any technology, increasing complexity results in increased error and the Army (and all other branches) don't want to deal with calibrating scientific instruments (tape measures don't have to be calibrated I guess). I imagine, if used incorrectly (I imagine better or worse skin contact might make results vary on these scales), the variability could be greater for these instruments without it being obvious to the operator. The tape measure OTOH is (to the naked eye) a tool that seems fool-proof (how snugly do they cinch it when measuring your waist?).

    The other thing is that any soldier (sailor, airman, marine) can (with the assistance of a friend) verify their own statistics without having to expend a lot of money using a tape measure.

    We can complain all day long about the arbitrary process for determining fitness for service (from a physical composition perspective), but it ain't gonna change a thing. The best thing I can say is that anyone can know when they are in trouble if they read and understand the requirement.

    That being said, I am wondering when the neck fat (larger neck size is favorable in the measurements) implant (transplanted from waist) will becoming a new plastic rage in the Army for women. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Gojira

    Gojira Member

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    I am pretty sure if the dunk test was offered, my son would have commissioned.

    He has always had a bigger sticky build. If We had known what those standards were before joining ROTC, it would have been a good thing. He put on a lot of muscle while in NROTC and after the NAvy changed their waivers for this is 2010, it might have been a good thing to know, as well. Unfortunately, not aware of this change. Not sure son was, either.

    Of course, having read a lot since son was disenrolled last December, we have discovered countless tidbits of information, reading about weight standards and disenrollment and such.

    If he had commissioned, he likely would have always had issues with tape measure test. This is not a very accurate BMI gauge.
     
  11. Gojira

    Gojira Member

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    Also - I have a daughter who is a water athlete. She weighs around 150 pounds and is 5 foot, 9 inches. The nurse at doctor's office was shocked by weight and reweighed her. The girl is all muscle.

    I should try that BMI tape measure test on her sometime.

    Muscle weighs more than fat.
     

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