Body Composition Evaluation Procedures

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1. Body Composition Evaluation. The Body Composition Evaluation is a semi-annual requirement designed to ensure Marines are within Marine Corps established height/weight or body fat standards. Every Marine must be evaluated twice a year during the January-June and July-December time frames. The Body Composition Evaluation will not occur within 14 days (prior to or after) of the semi-annual PFT. In the case of unannounced inspections conducted by CG Inspection teams, the PFT and Body Composition Evaluation may take place on the same day. SMCR Marines will be evaluated on the drill weekend before or after the annual PFT. The objective is to prevent Marines from taking extreme measures for rapid and potentially unhealthy weight loss prior to the weigh-in portion of the PFT. This safety measure will afford Marines adequate time to hydrate and eat healthy prior to the PFT. This measure also will enable Marines to perform their best, while reducing the risks of injury (e.g., dehydration or heat injuries).

a. Weigh-Ins. Regardless of duty status (full/light/limited duty), all Marines are required (at a minimum) to complete a semi-annual (annual for Reserves) Body Composition Evaluation as prescribed by the unit training schedule. The Command Physical Training (PT) Representative and his/her designate are the only unit personnel authorized to conduct Body Composition Evaluations, and will record the results on the PFT and Body Composition Worksheet in appendix F.

(1) Uniform. Uniform for the Evaluation is the USMC established green-on-green T-shirt and shorts, and socks. No other uniform or PT attire is permitted. Shoes will not be worn.

(2) Height Measurement. Height will be measured using a standard, non-stretching (cloth or fiberglass) tape measure that is secured to a wall and flush with the deck; weight scales that have a height measuring device will not be used. The Marine will stand with their back against the wall, heels flat on the deck, shoulders back, with arms to the side in a relaxed manner, and head straight forward. A ruler will be used to mark the Marine's exact height.

(a) Measurement will be recorded to the nearest inch.

(b) If the height fraction is less than 1/2 inch, round down to the nearest inch. If height fraction is 1/2 inch or more, round up.

(3) Weight Measurement. Weight will be measured on a calibrated balance beam scale in the required PT uniform, without running shoes. A one-pound reduction will be granted for the PT uniform; however, no other weight reductions are authorized.

(a) Measurement will be recorded to the nearest pound.

(b) If the weight fraction is 1/2 pound or less, round down to the nearest pound. If more than 1/2 pound, round up.

(4) Refer to section I of appendix I to review the height and weight chart. If a Marine is not within height and weight standards, then the Marine will be measured for body fat immediately (same day). Body fat estimation is only authorized for Marines who exceed their maximum weight standard. The height and weight measurement conducted during this portion of the Body Composition Evaluation is what will be reported on the FitRpt.

b. Body Fat Estimation. Body fat will be estimated using the circumference-based method with one set of measurements for each gender (Males: height, neck circumference, and abdominal circumference at the navel. Females: height, neck circumference, waist circumference at the thinnest portion of the abdomen, and hips). No substitute methods of assessment are permitted. This DoD directed method of body fat estimation has been carefully evaluated for applicability to service members and represents the best approach that can be applied with minimal error (+/- 3 to 4%). This method is also valid because of the emphasis on abdominal circumference, the site of human body fat deposition which is most strongly associated with health risks, and which corresponds to other military goals including appropriate appearance and healthy exercise habits. Body fat measurements will be taken in the following manner:

(1) Marines will report for body fat estimation in the required PT uniform. The Command PT Representative and his/her designate will conduct the measurements.

(2) The tape measure used should be made of non-stretchable material, preferably fiberglass; cloth or steel tapes are unacceptable. The tape measure width should be 1/4 - 3/8 inch. The tape measure should be calibrated (i.e., compared with a yardstick or a metal ruler to ensure validity). This is done by aligning the fiberglass tape measure with the quarter inch markings on the ruler. The markings should match those on the ruler; if not, do not use that tape measure.

(3) All measurements will be taken on bare skin with the only exception being the female hip measurement.

(4) For use in the body fat estimation formula, Marines will have their height re-measured and recorded to the nearest 1/2-inch.

(a) If the measured height fraction is greater than an inch, round up to the nearest 1/2-inch.

(b) If the measured height fraction is greater than 1/2-inch, round up to the next whole inch.

(c) If the measured height fraction is at 1/2 inch, use that measurement in the body fat estimation equation.

(d) The height measured at the initial semi-annual (annual for Reserves) height/weight screen is what will be reported on the FitRpt, not the height used for the body fat estimation formula.

(5) Without causing indentation, the tape will be applied to the skin with sufficient tension to hold it in place as the measurement is being read.

(6) Circumference measurements will be taken three times to ensure accuracy. Each set of measurements will be completed sequentially to discourage assumption of repeated measurement readings. For males, complete one set of abdomen and neck measurements, not, for example, three abdominal circumferences followed by three neck circumferences. Continue the process by measuring the abdomen and neck in series until three sets of measurements are completed. For females, complete one set of waist, hip, and neck, measurements, not, for example, three waist measurements followed by three hip measurements. Continue the process by measuring the waist, hip, neck series three sets of measurements are completed. The lower of the three body fat measurements will be recorded on the PFT/Body Composition Worksheet in appendix F.

(7) Procedures for Body Fat Estimation for Males:

(a) Measure the neck circumference by placing the edge of the tape measure flush with the bottom of the larynx and perpendicular to the long axis of the neck. The Marine should look straight ahead during the measurement, with shoulders down (not hunched). For neck measurements in excess of the whole inch, round the neck measurement up to the nearest 1/2-inch and record (e.g., round up 16 1/4 inches to 16 1/2 inches).

(b) Measure abdominal circumference against the skin at the navel, level and parallel to the deck. Arms are at the sides. Take measurement at the end of the Marine's normal, relaxed exhalation. Round the abdominal measurement down to the nearest 1/2-inch and record (e.g., round down 34 3/4 to 34 1/2 inches).

(c) Determine percent body fat by subtracting the neck from the abdominal measurement and comparing this value against the height measurement, (e.g., abdominal - neck = circumference value). Refer to the chart "Percent Body Fat Estimation for Males" in section II of appendix I.

(8) Procedures for Body Fat Estimation for Females:

(a) Measure the neck circumference by placing the edge of the tape measure flush with the bottom of the larynx and perpendicular to the long axis of the neck. The Marine should look straight ahead during the measurement, with shoulders down (not hunched). To establish neck measurements in excess of the whole inch, round the neck measurement up to the nearest 1/2-inch and record (e.g., round up 13 3/8 inches to 13 1/2 inches).

(b) Measure the natural waist circumference against the skin at the point of minimal abdominal circumference, usually located about halfway between the navel and the lower end of the sternum (breastbone). When this site is not easily observed, take several measurements at probable sites and use the smallest value. Ensure the tape is level and parallel to the deck. Arms are at the sides. Take measurements at the end of a normal, relaxed exhalation. Round natural waist measurement down to the nearest 1/2-inch and record (e.g., round down 28 5/8 inches to 28 1/2 inches).

(c) Measure the hip circumference while facing the Marine's right side by placing the tape around the hips so that it passes over the greatest protrusion of the buttocks as viewed from the side. Ensure the tape is level and parallel to the deck. Apply sufficient tension on the tape to minimize the effect of clothing. Round the hip measurement down to the nearest 1/2-inch and record (e.g., round down 38 3/8 inches to 38 inches).

(d) Determine percent body fat by adding the waist and the hip measurements, subtracting the neck measurement, and comparing values against the Marine's height measurement (e.g., waist + hip - neck = circumference value). Refer to the chart "Percent Body Fat Estimation for Females" in section II of appendix I.

(e) Marines who meet the body fat standards, 18% for males and 26% for females, will be considered within the Marine Corps' body composition standards. Marines who exceed the body fat standards will be further evaluated on criteria set forth in paragraph 3102 below.

3102. PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE EVALUATION. There is an integral relationship between body composition and physical performance that warrants consideration when evaluating the "total" Marine. For instance, there are Marines who exceed weight and body fat standards, yet perform exceptionally well on the semi-annual PFT and combat fitness tests. These Marines demonstrate both exceptional cardiovascular endurance and upper body strength, with a body composition that may be identified as slightly exceeding the standards, but overall could be viewed as maintaining a reasonable body weight. In such cases, the Marine Corps' view on physical fitness as "essential to the day-to-day effectiveness and combat readiness" should be the overriding factor in these circumstances. The Physical Performance Evaluation not only takes body composition and physical fitness performance into consideration, it also takes into account the acknowledged variance in the body fat estimation technique ("taping" method). The Physical Performance Evaluation accommodates for the acknowledged margin of error in body fat estimation and testing, normally a variance of 3 to 4%. Reference (f) establishes a requirement to make such an accommodation in view of this variance. In essence, the Physical Performance Evaluation assesses the "total" Marine (e.g., body composition and recent semiannual PFT performance as well as acknowledges the margin of error in body fat testing).

1. The Physical Performance Evaluation requires a Marine to meet the following criteria:

a. Current 1st Class semi-annual (annual for Reserves) PFT score; a previously recorded score will not be considered.

b. Body fat estimation does not exceed the standard by more than 4%, (<22% for males, <30% for females).

2. Marines exceeding 22 and 30% respectively or score a 2nd Class PFT or lower will not be eligible for the Physical Performance Evaluation under any circumstance. These Marines will automatically be processed for a BCP and RPCP assignment.

3. Partial Physical Fitness Tests (PPFT) will not be considered. Marines must be fit to take a PFT and score a 1st Class to be considered for the Physical Performance Evaluation.

4. No adverse administrative action will be taken for Marines meeting the Physical Performance Evaluation criteria. The Body Fat estimation percentage will still be reported on the FitRpt. The following is a directed comment in section I on the FitRpt meeting the Physical Performance Evaluation criteria:

"MRO meets the Physical Performance Evaluation criteria in MCO P6100.12 and is within standards."

5. Marines meeting the Physical Performance Evaluation criteria will only be exempt from administrative action for a particular 6-month (semi-annual) period (or annual for Reserves). Marines will be reevaluated at the next semi-annual PFT (annual for Reserves) and Body Composition Evaluation per paragraph 2100.

6. Physical Performance Evaluation examples:

a. Example 1: A male Marine, who exceeds his maximum allowable weight, is measured at 21% body fat, and scores a current 1st Class PFT has met the Physical Performance Evaluation criteria and would not be assigned to the BCP.

b. Example 2: A male Marine, who exceeds his maximum allowable weight, scores a current 1st Class PFT, but is measured at 24% body fat, does not meet the Physical Performance Evaluation body fat criteria, and therefore would be assigned to the BCP.

c. Example 3: A female Marine who exceeds her maximum allowable weight, is measured at 32% body fat, and scores a current 2nd Class PFT, does not meet the Physical Performance Evaluation body fat and PFT criteria, and therefore would be assigned to the BCP.

3103. PREGNANCY/POSTPARTUM BODY COMPOSITION REQUIREMENTS. Marines will be exempt from weight and body fat standards during pregnancy, but will maintain active participation in the Physical Conditioning Program (PCP) unless otherwise prescribed by her MO. Marines in a postpartum status will be required to meet weight and body fat standards no later than 6 months following a MO's authorization to RTFD. This authorization normally coincides with the completion of the 6-week (postpartum) convalescence leave period, per reference (l).

1. Miscarriage/Stillbirth. A Marine whose pregnancy terminates prematurely or that results in a stillbirth will meet weight and body fat standards within a time period determined by a MO. Due to the varying disposition of this medical situation, it is important that an open dialogue exists between the Marine, the MO and her CO to determine the time needed to recover and conform to body composition standards. The recovery period in this case, however, will not exceed the 6 months authorized for full-term pregnancies.

2. BCP Assignment. Marines who become pregnant while assigned to the BCP will remain on the Program in an "inactive" status.

a. The only Unit Diary entry required when a Marine becomes pregnant while assigned to a BCP is to report MCTFS Duty Limitation Code of "N, PREGNANCY" per paragraph 1206 of reference (i). An advisory message will be generated on the unit's Diary Feedback Report (DFR) as follows: "MARINE PLACED IN INACTIVE WT CNTL STATUS." All further advisories concerning the Marine's status in the BCP will be suppressed for the duration of the pregnancy and the medical related periods of limited duty immediately following the pregnancy.

b. Following the MO's medical evaluation, the Marine will be returned to either a full duty status, or reported to a non-medical related limited duty status. The Marine will then resume active participation in the BCP. All Marines will be assigned for a 6-month period, regardless of time spent on the Program prior to pregnancy. The unit will receive the following advisory message on their DFR: "MARINE RETURNED TO ACTIVE WT CNTL STATUS FOR SIX MONTHS."

3. Promotion Eligibility. Marines will not be eligible for promotion if they are in an "inactive" status for a BCP assignment per paragraphs 1204.3n and 6009.2e of reference (k). Only when the Marine returns to the weight and body fat standards and meets all other promotion requirements will she be promoted. Reference paragraph 2305 of this Manual for further details.

CHAPTER 3 BODY COMPOSITION PROGRAM (BCP) SECTION 2: BCP PROCEDURES

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