“Coast Guard Reshaping Body Fat Measurement Standard in Pilot Study” —

USS Zephyr (PC 8) and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Pacific personnel, conducting operations in support of JIATF-S Operation Martillo. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Casey J. Hopkins

The US Naval Institute has post regarding the Coast Guard’s body fat measurement methods.

It sounds like the Coast Guard will use a decision tree with a lot of “if then” statements.

There is a weigh in. If you pass you are home free, if not, then to the taping.

The body fat screening involves taping males on their necks and waist, and females are taped on their necks, waist and hips. The member is now also taped with the abdominal body fat measure, Rooney said. If the member passes either of those two measurements, they are considered compliant.


The Coast Guard standard for the abdominal circumference is a maximum of 39 inches for men and 35.5 inches for women.

For Coast Guard members who exceed both taping measurements, Rooney said they receive a medical screening to determine if they’re eligible to take a physical fitness test, involving a 1.5- mile run, push-ups and sit-ups. Standards are age-based.

“If they pass it, then they’ll be in compliance,” Rooney said. “If they are not eligible, refuse to take it, or they fail it, they will be screened as we already do for medical events that maybe we have missed, and if not there, they’ll be placed on medical weight probation.”

There is more in the original post. Sounds relatively easy to comply, but still sounds like the threat of separation is the only motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It might be said that motivation should come from within, but there are circumstances where the demands of the job discourage healthy lifestyles.

I always appreciated the fact that the Coast Guard generally gave me a place and time to exercise. Hopefully everyone is getting this opportunity and is encouraged to take advantage. For the unit this may be a short term sacrifice, but it pays long term dividends.

We might provide motivation for heathier choices by having physical fitness on fitness reports and enlisted marks and support of fitness for subordinates included on fitness reports and senior enlisted marks. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s