Military test of body fat faces criticism

Associated Press
FILE This Nov. 14, 2002 file-pool photo shows a US soldier, a members of the 82nd Airborne Division, securing an area from the top of an armored vehicle on the sunset near the town of Yayeh Kehl, Paktia province, Afghanistan.  (AP Photo/Amel Emric, POOL)
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FILE This Nov. 14, 2002 file-pool photo shows a US soldier, a members of the 82nd Airborne Division, securing an area from the top of an armored vehicle on the sunset near the town of Yayeh Kehl, Paktia province, Afghanistan.  (AP Photo/Amel Emric, POOL)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Doctors say a number of military personnel are turning to liposuction to remove excess fat from around the waist so they can pass the Pentagon's body fat test.

Some service members say they have no other choice because the Defense Department's method of estimating body fat is weeding out not just flabby physiques but bulkier, muscular builds.

A number of fitness experts and doctors agree, and they're calling for the military's fitness standards to be revamped.

Defense officials say only a small fraction of those who exceed body fat limits perform well on physical fitness tests.

The checks are designed to ensure troops are ready for the rigors of combat. Pentagon officials say the military doesn't condone surgically altering one's body to pass the test, though liposuction isn't prohibited.

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