Tape test returns to 911th AW

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. James E. Harris III
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

On April 1, 2023, the “waist measurement” will be re-integrated into the health and wellness United States Air Force personnel, but with a few changes. Originally, the waist measurement was a part of the physical fitness test which included push-ups, sit-ups, and a run portion. Now, the waist measurement will be a standalone requirement.

“The measurement itself is going to be conducted by body composition managers in every unit,” said Jeff Stearns, an exercise physiologist assigned to the 911th Airlift Wing Fitness Center. “That’s the closest correlation to the fitness test, but other than that, it’s clearly decoupled.”

Known as the Body Composition Program it will be run by each Airman’s unit. Body composition serves as an indicator of a member’s overall health and physical readiness. Department of Defense Instruction 1308.03, DoD Physical Fitness/Body Composition Program, mandates the BCP as a requirement. Excess fat in the abdominal region impairs the body’s responsiveness to insulin. As a result, it contributes to increased health risks such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and musculoskeletal injuries, negatively impacting physical readiness. The BCP requires Air Force military members to complete an annual Body Composition Assessment within their birth month and uses the Waist-to-Height Ratio to calculate body composition by dividing waist circumference by height. The waist as defined by The Department of the Air Force is the midpoint between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone, which is normally the narrowest portion of the abdomen.

According to a memo from the Air Force Head Quarters, an Airman with a WHtR of less than .55 is considered “low-moderate risk”, whereas those averaging above .55 will be considered “high risk”. Airmen within the high-risk category will be enrolled into an informal self-directed program. Those who are enrolled into the BCIP during the initial 12-month adaptation period will not receive a failure this year and will only be considered a baseline score and should not fear any administrative repercussions. However, test takers should be prepared for to pass one year after their initial test.

If the member fails after the adaptation period, then they will be put into the formal program where administrative action could be taken but under the unit commander’s discretion.

For perspective, an Airman who is 5’6” or 66 inches tall will meet the standard of low-moderate risk with a waist measurement of 35.5 inches. Taller Airman have a respectively wider maximum waist measurement with those standing at 6’3” or 75 inches passing with a 40.5-inch measurement.

Airmen should be aware this program is not run by the Force Support Squadron, said Sterns. Instead, each unit will assign a Body Composition Program monitor to take the measurements. Only males will measure males, and females will measure females.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, they can contact a representative at their base fitness center for more information.

Airmen can find additional information through the myPers website by searching for the Body Composition Program.