- The US Air Force will raise its body fat limits for new applicants to drive recruitment.
- The group will now admit male recruits with up to 28% body fat and females with up to 36%.
- The Air Force last month revealed it would likely fall short of recruiting targets by 10%.
The US Air Force will allow its service members to have more body fat under new rules designed to boost recruitment.
Male troops will now be able to have 26% body fat rather than 20%, while female recruits can have 36% body fat, up from 28%, said Air Force Recruitment Service spokesperson Leslie Brown.
“We realize the youth of today lead a more sedentary lifestyle than past generations and the Air Force’s more restrictive standards were driving away otherwise qualified applicants,” Brown told Insider in an emailed statement.
“Once the recruits are accessed and in the Air Force, they will have access to nutritional and physical fitness support to assist with achieving and maintaining a healthier weight/BFM.”
The looser restrictions could increase monthly intake by 50 to 100 recruits, Brown added.
The reported adjustment comes as the Air Force deals with a shortfall of new recruits. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Military.com last month that the unit was likely to miss its recruiting target this year by 10%.
“We are swimming upstream against reduced propensity to serve nationally across the board and a limited percentage of qualified candidates,” he said.
A study published last year by the Pentagon and reported by Military.com found 71% of Americans aged 17 to 24 would be ineligible for military recruitment due to reasons including obesity and drug abuse.
The Centre for Disease Control said in July 2022 that a third of young Americans were too heavy to serve in the military. Only one in two were both eligible and adequately active to serve, it said.