Garrett Tedford1, Anaelle Charles1, Kayle Long1, Hannah Freeland1, Katherine Shelton1, Veronika Pribyslavska1, Lance Bryant1, Eric M. Scudamore1 1Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if there were comparable differences in body fat percentage (BF%) using air plethysmography and skinfold measurements to the U.S Army Body Composition (ABC) standard means of measuring body composition. METHODS: Body composition for 15 generally-active women (21.4 ± 1.7 years) was measured using three different procedures: a7-site skinfold, air plethysmography, and the ABC measurement using a non-stretchable tape measure around the neck, waist, and hip. The Initial Physical Fitness Test (IPFT)was used to determine if participants met the 1-minute push-up, 1-minute sit-up, and a 1-mile run criteria required for admittance into basic combat training. The IPFT was added to this study to give a better understanding that the U.S. Army does not simply focus on BF% and that the U.S. Army has the potential of turning away new recruits or telling them that they have to be enrolled in the U.S. Army’s training program when those individuals are possibly already fit but are simply lacking in the required circumference measures. RESULTS: A repeated measures ANOVA indicated that BF% was significantly different between measurement methods (p = .001; η2p = .39). Post-hoc pairwise comparisons revealed that BF% estimate for the ABC (29.5 ± 6.5 %) was statistically higher (p = .001) when compared to the 7-site skinfold (23.1 ± 6.9 %). Additionally, the air plethysmography method (26.2 ± 8.3 %) yielded statistically higher (p = .017) values when compared to the 7-site skinfold. No statistical differences were found between the ABC and air plethysmography methods (p= .08). IPFT tests indicated that 8 participants (53.3%) did not pass both the IPFT and the ABC requirements for selection, while 7 participants (46.7%) did pass. CONCLUSION: The findings of this investigation provide evidence that the ABC is an acceptable method of estimating BF% for the U.S. Army when compared to using air plethysmography. Due to the similar outcomes between ABC and air plethysmography, and the potential error when using 7-site skinfold (± 3.5 %), it would not be in the U.S. Army’s’ best interest to change their standard means of estimating body composition. As this is an ongoing study, a larger sample size and further data compilation are needed to support the findings.

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