My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 21, 2021

Body Composition Program resumes

By MyCG Staff

The Body Composition Program will resume beginning Oct. 1, 2021, returning with all administrative consequences in effect.

With nearly 70% of our total Coast Guard workforce vaccinated, the impacts of COVID-19 on our members are beginning to diminish significantly. Vaccines are readily available and easily accessible resulting in our service and most of our communities return to pre-COVID conditions. The Coast Guard has determined that, given these conditions, it is appropriate to fully implement the Body Comp program starting this fall. 

The Boatcrew Physical Fitness Test (PFT) will once again be available for those that are medically qualified during the October 2021 BCS as a continuation of the pilot program.

The Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H will be updated to include:

  • abdominal circumference (AC) as an additional body composition measure to be used with maximum allowable weight (MAW) 
  • 2/3 taping as permanent body composition measures. (Men are taped in two places: at their neck and abdomen circumference, and women are taped at three places: at their neck, waist, and hips.) 

All administrative consequences will be in effect as stated in the Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H. 

Screening process (in order)

Body composition tracks the relationship between your height and weight. If you have not yet been measured during your current assignment, your height will be recorded. Next, your weight will be recorded with appropriate weight subtracted for the clothing you are wearing at that time – ODUs, workout gear, trops, etc. 

If you exceed your MAW, you must be measured for body fat screening - 2/3 site taping or AC measurement - and you can chose one or the other. If you pass either measurement, you will be compliant. 

Example scenario: If you exceed BFS measurement, you can chose to take the other form of measurement not already attempted. For example, if you are a female and choose 3-site taping and do not show compliance you can then attempt AC measurement to show compliance. If you exceed this measurement, you may have the option to take the Boat Crew PFT as described in the U.S. Coast Guard Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Manual, Volume II, COMDTINST M16114.33 (series). However, you will need a medical pre-screening in order to determine that you are eligible to take the PFT. Once given the go-ahead, and you pass the PFT, you are compliant with the Body Composition Program.

Of note, if you decide not to take the PFT, are not cleared to take PFT, or if you fail the PFT, you will be processed for weight probation or separation, as appropriate according to Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H and Resumption of the Body Composition Program ACN 068/21. 

You should be familiar with the procedures listed in ACN 068/21 as well as in the Body Composition Screening Desk Guide when performing any required body composition screening between Oct. 1 2021 and Sept. 30 2022. 

Procedures to follow: 

  • You can find height and weight procedures in 2.B.4.b and 2.B.4.c of the Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H.
  • Body Fat Screening procedures can be found in 2.C though 2.F of the Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H.
  • AC Measurement is a circumferential measure of abdominal girth at the iliac crest (top of hipbone). Since 2019, it was found that abdominal circumference (AC) measurement provides a second scientifically-sound method that members can demonstrate compliance for male and female members. Two people will be involved when measuring AC of a member– once who does the taping and an observer. The gender of the taper, observer, and member is the same. The taper will take the measurement and the observer will read the taping instructions and ensure that taping is performed correctly. For consistency purposes, spring-loaded tension tape measurers will be used when measuring AC. Taping instructions are found in the Body Composition Screening Desk Guide, as well as a "how to measure" AC video is available. Please read more about AC including how it will be conducted in the Resumption of the Body Composition Program ACN 068/21.

Additional Guidance

  • Taping guidance. Most tape measurements will be made tape to skin for a more accurate measurement. The only measurement that will not be made to skin is the hip measurement. Members requiring hip taping have the option to be taped over the uniform of the day, physical fitness (PT) gear, or to skin. This optional "over the clothes" method for hip measurements will use the same measurement locations and taping procedures in the Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H. ”over the clothes" option during hip taping, one inch will be subtracted from the hip measurement only. The recording of these measurements and the averages noted in para 2.D.3 of the Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H still apply. All other processes and procedures outlined in the Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H for the body fat assessment remain in effect.
  • PFT guidance. If you exceed your MAW and you are not in compliance with either the body fat assessment or AC measurement, you will be given a medical pre-screening questionnaire to determine if you are medically eligible to take the PFT. You must be cleared by an independent duty health services technician or a medical officer to take the PFT. For active duty members, once you are medically cleared to take the PFT, you have five days to take the test. If you are medically fit to take the PFT and pass it, you will be compliant. If you decline to take the PFT or fail to complete the screening questionnaire you will be considered to have not passed the PFT.

The only authorized PFT is the boat crew fitness test specified in the U.S. Coast Guard Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Manual, Volume II, COMDTINST M16114.33 (series) at Part 2, Chapter 4, Section D, Physical Fitness Standards. Units will use the Fitness Assessment Protocols and Procedures Guide, in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Manual, Volume II, COMDTINST M16114.33 (series), to conduct the PFT. If you choose to take the 12-minute swim as an alternative to the one and a half mile run, your command should will assist you in locating an appropriate swimming pool. Local commands will be responsible for any pool fees that are incurred.

PFT scores will be recorded in Direct Access.

Probation Determination. 

You will be placed on weight probation is you exceed your MAW, you fail taping, and don’t show compliance via the PFT. 

Non-compliance with the PFT occurs when the following occur:

  • A medical officer determines that you are not cleared to take the PFT, and you do not qualify for a medical abeyance or exemption, or;
  • You decline to take the PFT after being cleared by medical to take the PFT, or;
  • You do not pass the PFT.

Probation. There are four ways to avoid probation: 

  1. Compliance with MAW, 
  2. Compliance with AC, 
  3. Compliance with body fat screening,
  4. Passing the PFT. 

You will be processed for separation if:

  • You are above your maximum screening weight by more than 35 pounds; and
  • above your maximum allowable body fat by more than 8%, and 
  • exceed AC by more than four inches, and
  • fail to show compliance via the PFT. 

Your probation/separation will be based on screening weight and your chosen tape measurement.

Commands will continue to use the probation duration calculations located in the Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H but include the AC safe loss rate of a half inch per month. As with the other measures, the maximum probation duration will be eight months. Probation duration will be based on the measure that gives the member the longest probation duration.

If you are placed on weight probation, you must wait 30 days to have your first probation Body Composition Check and must go through entire Body Composition Screening process each time.

Reservists

If you are a reservist and you exceed your MAW and taping measurements, you will complete a medical screening form prior to the conclusion of the drill period in which your screening was conducted. If a follow-on medical appointment is needed, a Readiness Management Period will be allotted to conduct the medical follow-up. Commands of reservists will provide advanced dates for the PFT to allow members to adjust their schedule as needed. If a member cannot meet those dates due to other commitments, they can request an alternate date. The PFT will be conducted on the approved date, provided the member is cleared to perform the PFT. Reservists who are not cleared to take the PFT, decline to take it, or fail it, and are not granted an exemption or abeyance, will follow the process outlined in 4.C.4. of Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H.

Additional Information.

And updated Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H will be released in the next year.

If you need guidance on safe weight loss and healthy habits please visit the Coast Guard’s Office of Work-Life Programs: Unit Health Promotion Resources website

For medical screening questions please email, COMDT (CG-112)

For general policy questions please email COMDT (CG-1331) or visit the Body Composition website.

Commands:

Any unit that conducts a PFT for compliance will submit a brief report to COMDT (CG-11) on the time and resources used to conduct the PFT and the number of times the member has used it for compliance within 10 business days of the test. You can find report format can be found on the Body Composition Pilot Program website.

Resources:

  • Coast Guard Weight and Body Fat Standards Program Manual, COMDTINST M1020.8H
  • Resumption of the Body Composition Program ACN 068/21
  • U.S. Coast Guard Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Manual, Volume II, COMDTINST M16114.33 (series)
  • Military Assignments and Authorized Absences, COMDTINST M1000.8 (series)
  • Coast Guard Body Composition Desk Guide
  • Body Composition website
  • Coast Guard’s Office of Work-Life Programs: Unit Health Promotion Resources website.