Although there is a weight waiver provided that allows overweight people to enlist and lose weight while in basic training, the height requirement remains unchanged.
The weight waiver allowance came into existence in 2009, but this doesn’t mean all overweight individuals who meet height requirements are considered.
A new program introduced in 2022 permits overweight recruits to lose excess body fat in order to come closer to the standards before entering basic training.
New recruits with as much as 6 percent over the limits can enter a 90-day program of exercise and dietary training. Results are measured every three weeks and if they can pare down to only 2 percent over the Army’s limit, they can continue to basic training.
One in four recruits to the military is disqualified according to the National Bureau of Economic Research due to weight-related issues.
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Jump To An Army Height And Weight Chart
How Are Weight and Height Measurements Taken?
Army personnel takes official weight and height measurement to determine an applicant’s physical condition.
This is part of the physical exam of the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) every applicant must follow and pass before being sworn in as a recruit.
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Both height and weight measurements are rounded up or down to the nearest whole digit.
The rounding off depends on whether it is more or less than .5 lb. For instance, if your weight is 119.6 lbs, the official weight that will be noted down will be 120 lbs.
If your weight exceeds the maximum limit provided for by the U.S. Army, then the MEPS officials may opt to carry out body fat percentage tests before giving you the go-ahead to be a recruit.
Body Fat Requirements
In March 2022, the Department of Defense set policies to improve and standardize fitness standards across the Armed Forces.
Setting body fat percentage standards is one method for determining physical fitness. The new DoD policy specifies both minimum and maximum percentages that the various branches can use to make the determination.
The new policy notes that female service members may not have more than 36 percent body fat, while male servicemembers must have less than 26 percent body fat.
However, no service branch can set minimum limits below 26 percent for women and 18 percent for men.
The U.S. military has a specific height range that all recruits fall in.
The reason they have a strict height range is that the military doesn’t have a flexible budget or time to tailor-make customized uniforms and equipment for personnel outside the set height ranges.
Besides, the tanks, shipboard, and airplane jobs will be difficult if someone exceeds the set height standards.
The acceptable height range for male Army applicants is between 60 inches and 80 inches.
Therefore, if you fall outside this range, you might be rejected.
For female applicants, the cause for rejection to the U.S. military is a height less than 58 inches or more than 80 inches.
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The minimum age for joining the US military is 17 years, although this calls for parental consent.
This means that there is still room for growth.
However, as long as you passed the physical exam of MEPS, you cannot be disqualified if you attain a height exceeding the set standards. It should be noted that you may be disqualified for certain MOS ratings if there are height restrictions.
The most notable case of a military member is that of David Robinson, a renowned basketball player.
He started his military career within the official height standards but went on to add more than six inches in his first four years at the Naval Academy.
At the time of joining the military, he was 6’7″, but in four years, he had grown to 7’1″. This means he had exceeded the 80 inches height standard. Rather than receiving an honorable discharge, he was allowed to see off his contract.
He played professional basketball but continued serving active duty. He later served in Naval Reserves doing recruitment and promotion campaigns for the Navy.
Weight Requirements follow a standard chart that takes gender, age groups, and height into account to determine the maximum and minimum weight limits.
For instance, a recruit who is between 17 and 20 years, with a height of 60 inches, should not exceed 128 lbs for females and 132 lbs for males.
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If you exceed the maximum weight limit for your height, gender, and age group, you may be granted a weight waiver as long as you are under the maximum body fat percentage for your age and gender.
For existing soldiers who don’t pass the height/weight requirements, scoring high enough on the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) may be enough.
In March 2023, the Army decided that an ACFT score of 540, with a minimum of 80 in all six events, exempts active soldiers from height/weight requirements for up to 8 months. It exempts Reserve and Guard members for up to 15 months.
With that in mind, let’s show you the height and weight requirements for joining the U.S. Army.
Here are a couple of charts showing the set standards for height and weight for men and women:
Army Height And Weight Standards For Men
|Height (In Inches)||Minimum Weight||Age 17 - 20 Max Weight (in lbs.)||Age 21 - 27 Max Weight (in lbs.)||Age 28 - 39 Max. Weight (in lbs.)||Age 40+ Max Weight (in lbs.)|
Army Height And Weight Standards For Women
|Height (in inches)||Minimum Weight (in lbs.)||Age 17 - 20 Max. Weight (in lbs.)||Age 21 - 27 Max. Weight (in lbs.)||Age 28 - 39 Max. Weight (in lbs.)||Age 40+ Max Weight (in lbs.)|
The Need to Stay Fit In the Army
Keeping within the weight and height standards of the Army is a must for both active duty and reserve soldiers.
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More often, the physical activities of the Army ensure their weight and body fat composition stays within limits. However, for those assigned desk duties, they have to get into a regular physical fitness routine to keep their bodies fit.
The Army does not condone overweight individuals and soldiers with poor body composition for prolonged periods since this may lead to a decreased individual performance thereby causing disruption to their respective units.
In order to answer the call of duty to defend our Nation every service member must be physically fit.
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