The U.S. Army has height and weight requirements you must meed to be eligible for enlistment. If you don't meet those standards, you may not be able to sign up or go to basic training. The requirements are different for men and women, and are bracketed by minimum and maximum weights per age. It's all for a reason. Basic training is tough -- you need to be in good enough shape to have a good chance at success.
The Army calculates your ideal target weight using your height as a basis. For example, if you're a female candidate between the ages of 17 and 20 -- the age of a typical recruit -- and 60 inches tall, your target weight ranges from 97 to 128 pounds. These measurements are taken in stocking feet with your chin parallel to the floor. You will be standing at attention, or in a semi-rigid posture.
Nearly as important as your weight is your percentage of body fat. Here the Army considers your gender and age, using a maximum percentage rather than an ideal bracket. Females aged 17 through 20 must have less than 30 percent total body fat, with male recruits in the same age range less than 20 percent.
Prior or Non-Prior Service
Included in the gender and age-based measurements for determining your ideal military weight and body fat, the Army also considers your prior service, if any. The Army assumes that if you've served before, you should have lower weight on you than if you're coming from civilian life. For example, a five-foot tall female between 17 and 20 with prior service has 116 pounds as her maximum weight, as compared to 120 coming in fresh.
When you initially sign up for the Army, you're sent to MEPS, or the Military Entrance Processing Station. This is where your height and weight are measured, along with screenings for other health-related issues like diabetes, which may be affected by your weight. However, don't worry if you have a treatable issue that won't get worse in the service -- it's only those permanent issues like chronic depression or HIV that keep you out. Basic training will help you lose those extra pounds, and as long as you were in the target range, you'll be fine.
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