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Marine Corps to ditch the tape test to measure body fat and use X-ray scanners

Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force use body fat analyzers during a body fat composition testing hosted by Marine Corps Community Services at the 21 Area Fitness Center, at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in 2012. (USMC photo)

The US Marine Corps is looking for other ways to measure body fat- and the tape test is going away.

A year-long study carried out by the US Army and Marine Corps has concluded that the tape test is not the optimal way to measure body fat.

“This study marks a milestone in understanding the health and performance of our Marines,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger. “Our primary focus in the Marine Corps is the individual Marine and this study is a pivot point. We will continue to learn and explore additional modifications to our body composition program.”

Approximately “0.6% of male and 6.3% of female Marines” were revealed to be improperly gauged using the tape method, with a sample of over 2,000 Marines.

Lt. Gen. Kevin Iiams, commanding general of the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command, said in a statement, “Our research demonstrated the taping method is still a viable solution to determine if a Marine is within an optimal body composition range. However, we recognize that a more scientifically advanced method of determining body composition is required before a Marine is assigned to a program that could have career implications.”

According to the Marine Corps Times, another change may prove controversial as the USMC looks for new ways to measure- women will be given a one percent increase in allowable body fat as soon as the new guidelines are posted.

“Troops will not be formally assigned to the service’s body composition program, which helps troops manage their weight or separates them for not meeting standards, until their body composition is also calculated using X-ray scanners and other tech,” the Marine Corps Times reports.

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