There was an interesting article in the Military Times about fitness rating in the military.
Spooked by obesity trends, the U.S. military is redefining its basic fitness standards
The US armed forces are attempting to put together a standard that:
- effectively measures health and fitness
- doesn't unfairly penalize the muscular
- doesn't unfairly pass the slender but unfit
- deals with body fat vs. actual physical fitness
- doesn't weaken standards of health and fitness
This is tougher than it sounds. Most of the previous methods - such as the taping method - inaccurately rated body fat. Some common standards, like BMI, fail to deal with people on the extreme ends and don't really give useful information about those in the middle, either.
“We are taking a slightly different perspective on this, focusing on the health: What determinants can we identify that would relate to predispositions for injury or illness?” the defense official said.
So, health and predisposition to injury. Two key issues they want to be able to understand on an individual basis.
"'BMI is absolutely useless'"
The problem is determining what health is, what predisposition to injury and illness actual means in terms of measurements and markers, and then measuring that. This is not a small problem.
Especially interesting to me is the idea of a fitness military specialty. Expect that if that happens, you'll see a lot more military-derived fitness programs and former military fitness specialists touting that experience as the basis for their programs. It's just natural if such a specialty exists.
The article is long but well worth the read.