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HOME>>ARMS Thursday, November 21 2019

Assessment of Recruit Motivation and Strength Study

The primary purpose of the Assessment of Recruit Motivation and Strength (ARMS) study was to study the use of a physical fitness screening tool for US Army applicants before basic training. Additional analyses have revealed a number of previously unknown relationships between fitness, Body Mass Index (BMI), and smoking with musculoskeletal injury, psychiatric disorder, and attrition.

Major Accomplishments
  • Physically fit recruits who exceeded weight for height and body-fat standards had comparable attrition during the first 180 days of service compared to those who met standards, indicating that applicants who exceed body fat standards but who are fit can successful serve in the Army.
  • Although heat illness events were rare, a significantly increased risk of heat illness and outpatient utilization among male recruits with excess body fat and being unfit was observed.
  • Risk of musculoskeletal injury and utilization were both associated with smoking, BMI and physical fitness.
  • In female recruits, failing the ARMS fitness test and being underweight were risk factors for bone stress injury to a lower extremity during the first 180 days of military service, while overweight and obese were at lower risk, but not significantly.
  • Smoking and being unfit increase risk of new-onset mental health disorder.
Scope of Problem
  • These findings challenge current US Army accession BMI and body fat standards.
  • They have implications for smoking, physical fitness and body fat policies and training programs.
  • Results may be useful in the development of evidence-based accession standards.

Last Modified Date: 27-Nov-2018

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