Home News Marine Corps may soon do away with “notoriously inaccurate” tape test

Marine Corps may soon do away with “notoriously inaccurate” tape test

The Navy uses height and weight charts to identify people who are potentially overweight, then checks body circumferences using measuring tape. Photo credit: U.S. Navy
Sailors getting a tape test to check body circumferences using a measuring tape.

High-level Marine Corps officials are contemplating major changes to the way the service measures body fat according to a brief obtained by Military.com.

Troops may soon be getting their way and offered an out when it comes to the “notoriously inaccurate” tape measure test, which they’ve long complained, punishes those with more muscular builds.

The ‘tape test’ is a way to estimate body fat percentage which uses the ratio of neck and waist circumferences for Marines who don’t fall within certain weight and height requirements.

According to Military.com’s report, one of the recommendations is allowing troops who achieve a maximum score of 300 on their physical fitness test and combat fitness test, to opt out of height and weight and tape measure body fat assessments. Also, those who score in the top 25 percent would be rewarded with a body fat margin of error allowance of 3 percentage points.

The proposal would also increase the BMI max for female Marines from 25 to 26. Also with the new changes, maximum weight for women would be increased by five to nine pounds, depending on height.

“Whether women go into ground combat or not, they’re telling me they’re going to do pull-ups for the fitness test. They’re going to get stronger. You get stronger, normally you gain weight, you get thicker,” Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller told Military.com.

Two months ago, Neller told the publication that he was particularly concerned the existing standards would interfere with female Marines’ efforts to build the muscle mass they needed to qualify for newly opened ground combat jobs and to meet physical standards including a pull-up requirement on the PFT.


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