Army Body Fat Calculator

Use this calculator to estimate your body fat percent based on the formula used by the U.S. Army. It shows whether you pass the requirements of applicants and current service men, as well as how you fare relative to the Department of Defense goal.

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Calculating body fat

There are different methods for calculating and estimating body fat, as described in our calculators for body fat percentage and fat-free body mass (mistaken with lean body mass). In this particular calculator we use the U.S. Army method, used by the Department of Defense to vet applicants and during assessment of current staff.

To use this U.S. Army body fat calculator, it is best that you recruit the help of another person to take the measurements for you, so that they are as close to the army method as possible. With a flexible measurement tape measure the neck and waist at their narrowest points, and the hips at their widest. You can use feet and inches, or centimeters, depending on your preferences.

Body fat formula (U.S. Army Method)

Contrary to what some people think, body fat percentage is not calculated based on any kind of BMI calculation. It is actually based on correlations between several body circumference measures relative to a person's height.

For men the formula is [3]:

86.01 x log10(waist - neck) - 70.041 x log10(height) + 36.76

For women the formula is [4]:

163.205 x log10(waist + hip - neck) - 97.684 x log10(height) - 78.387

All measurements are in inches. To use centimeters instead, replace 36.76 with 30.30 in the formula for men, and 78.387 with 104.912 in the formula for women.

Do I pass the army body fat requirement?

According to the U.S. Army Regulation 40–501 from 2017, Standards of Medical Fitness, the maximum allowed body fat percentage in order to join the army is presented in the table below:

Max. Allowable Body Fat Percentage
AgeMaleFemale
17-20 26% 32%
21-27 26% 32%
28-39 28% 34%
40 and over 30% 36%

According to the U.S. Army Regulation 40–501 from 2017, Standards of Medical Fitness, the maxmimum allowed body fat percentage in order to remain a part of the army is presented in the table below:

Max. Allowable Body Fat Percentage
AgeMaleFemale
17-20 20% 30%
21-27 22% 32%
28-39 24% 34%
40 and over 26% 36%

The goal of the Department of Defense is 18% body fat for males and 26% body fat for females. In our online calculator we will show you how much above the maximum allowable you are and how much you need to lose to meet the goal (if any).

Tips for reducing body fat

What to do if you have just used our body fat calculator and the results according to the U.S. Army Method do not cover the requirements of the DoD? What if you want to improve them, how do you begin? There are several general tips to help reduce your body fat percentage and cover the requirement.

First, you should consider reducing the number of calories you consume through eating. Our calorie calculator can be used to get an idea of where you need to aim. Persistence and motivation are key, as well as recruiting the help of people around you.

Second, you can alter your diet's macronutrient composition: the proportions of fat (lipids), carbs (carbohydrates) and proteins you eat. Our macronutrient calculator can help.

Third, exercise, especially of the resistance training type. As Katch et al. write [2], you can eat more yet weigh less and have a lower body fat percentage through regular exercise. Diligent and persistent exercise allows a person to maintain lower percentage of body fat even despite age-related tendency toward weight gain.

Contrary to popular belief which comes from amino acid infusion in deficient patients, consumption of amino acid supplements does not decrease body fat percentage and will not increase your chances during the application examination. Studies with healthy subjects do not provide evidence in support of using such supplements, including arginine, lysine, ornithine, tyrosine, and other amino acids, or combinations of them. No physical performance improvements were detected, either [2], so you better save your money on these.

References

[1] Army Regulation 600–9 (2013) The Army Body Composition Program

[2] Hodgdon J.A. (1990) "Body Composition In The Military Services: Standards And Methods", Body Composition and Physical Performance, National Academies Press (US)

Cite this calculator & page

If you'd like to cite this online calculator resource and information as provided on the page, you can use the following citation:
Georgiev G.Z., "Army Body Fat Calculator", [online] Available at: https://www.gigacalculator.com/calculators/army-body-fat-calculator.php URL [Accessed Date: 15 Dec, 2018].