BACKGROUND: To prepare for physically challenging environments, it is expected that military personnel achieve higher levels of physical fitness than the general population. The recent COVID-19 pandemic impacted physical activity levels among many of America’s youth, and thus, new recruits may be entering military service with lower fitness levels. It is also unknown how fitness levels of army cadets in upstate South Carolina compare to the general population. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was to compare anthropometric and fitness variables of army cadets from upstate South Carolina to data from the general population. METHODS: A sample of 22 United States Army cadets (17.5 ± 1.3 y, female n = 7) from the Spartanburg, SC area completed measurements of body fat percentage (BF), hand grip strength (HGS), vertical jump (VJ), and height and weight to calculate body mass index (BMI). Body fat, BMI, and HGS of the cadets were compared to age-matched adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and norms from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Vertical jump data was compared to previous research conducted among young adults. Data were analyzed using t-tests. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in BMI, HGS, and VJ between the cadets and the general population data. However, the cadets displayed significantly lower BF than the NHANES group (23.13 ± 6.57 vs. 28.46 ± 11.74 %, p = .0012). When analyzed separately, female cadets had a significantly lower BMI than the female NHANES group (22.88 ± 3.25 vs. 26.58 ± 7.72 kg/m2, p = .024). Female cadets also had significantly lower BF than the female NHANES group (22.93 ± 6.46 vs. 37.57 ± 7.26 %, p < .0001). Male cadets had significant lower VJ performance compared to data from young males (18.67 ± 3.82 vs. 22.2 ± 3.5 in., p < .001). When compared to norms from the ACSM, 63.6% (n = 14) of cadets were classified as Overweight or Obese, 59.1% (n = 13) of cadets had Very Poor or Poor BF, and 27.3% (n = 6) cadets had Poor HGS. CONCLUSIONS: United States Army cadets from upstate South Carolina may have similar overall anthropometric and fitness values to those of the general population. However, female cadets may exhibit lower BMI and BF, and male cadets may exhibit lower VJ performance. A larger study may be warranted to verify these findings.

This document is currently not available here.