Leaked document reveals Air Force is giving Airmen more time to lose body fat, changing standards again

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Breanna Fulton, 731st Air Mobility Squadron commander, speaks prior to a fitness challenge June 23, 2017 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos/Released)

The Air Force is giving more time to Airmen and Guardians whose bodies do not currently meet the standard for height-to-waist ratios, according to a leaked email document.

Last year the Air Force announced it would stop using the unpopular “tape test” to determine if their service members’ bodies were within healthy physical proportions.

The new Body Composition Assessment “measures excess fat distribution in the abdominal region and is calculated by dividing waist circumference by height,” the office of the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs stated in early 2023.

“Excess fat distribution in the abdominal region is associated with increased health risk,” they added.

The Air Force said the new Body Composition Assessment would be implemented in April 2023, and servicemembers would have until April 1, 2024, to meet the standard.

A Reddit post, on April 4th, revealed an Air Force message stating the deadline to meet the standard had been extended.

The message said the updated Body Composition Program is expected to be released within 90 days of April 1st and will update the current “guidelines and protocols for body composition assessments.”

Airmen and Guardians will have 180 days from the publication date before the Department of the Air Force will start enforcing the new standard.

Master Sgt. Deana Heitzman, a media operations manager for the Department of the Air Force, confirmed the delay and stated enforcement would begin in October at the earliest.

Once enforcement begins, Airmen and Guardians who fail to meet the standard could face administrative action.

They will likely undergo a medical evaluation and be enrolled in a 12-month fitness program.

If they continually fail to meet the standard they could be forced to leave the service.

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