Chapter 5 – Body Composition
Body composition, which refers to the body’s relative amounts of fat and lean body mass (organs, bones, muscles), is one of the five components of physical fitness. Good body composition is best gained through proper diet and exercise. Examples of poor body composition are underdeveloped musculature or excessive body fat. Being overweight (that is, overly fat) is the more common problem.
Poor body composition causes problems for the Army. Soldiers with inadequate muscle development cannot perform as well as soldiers with good body composition. As a soldier gets fat, his ability to perform physically declines, and his risk of developing disease increases. Soldiers with high percentages of body fat often have lower APFT scores than those with lower percentages. Poor body composition, especially obesity, has a negative effect on appearance, self- esteem, and negatively influences attitude and morale.
The Army’s weight control program is described in AR 600-9. It addresses body composition standards, programs for the overly fat, and related administrative actions.
The amount of fat on the body, when expressed as a percentage of total body weight, is referred to as the percent body fat. The Army’s maximum allowable percentages of body fat, by age and sex, are listed in Figure 5-1.