Air Force Tackles Recruitment Woes With New Body Fat Standards


Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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The Air Force raised the body fat percentages allowed for new recruits amid the service’s ongoing recruitment crisis, an Air Force official confirmed Tuesday.

Male recruits will now be able to join at 26% body fat, up from the previous 20% benchmark, reported. The body fat percentage for female recruits increased from 28% to 36%, the outlet noted. (RELATED: US Army Plans To Create A Fat Camp For Overweight, Out Of Shape Recruits)

The move comes as the Air Force expects to miss its recruiting goals by 10% this year, according to Officials anticipate the changes will result in an additional 50-100 new recruits each month, the Air Force Times reported.

The new standards are the latest in military efforts to overcome recruitment challenges. The Air Force allowed at least 43 recruits who tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to join earlier this year under a pilot program that allowed THC positive recruits to wait and retest. Other incentives for service include up to $65,000 student loan debt repayment, according to

“I can’t stress enough: We are not lowering our standards, but rather we are aligning our standards with the overall DoD policy,” Air Force Recruiting Service spokesperson Leslie Brown told

NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 20: The U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square sits nestled among skycrapers February 20, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The national obesity crisis renders many youth ineligible to serve, the Air Force Times noted. A recent Pentagon study showed that more than three-quarters of America’s young people would not qualify for service, previously reported. Drug and alcohol abuse rank second to weight as factors that disqualify for service.