Air Force To Welcome Heavier Recruits

The Air Force is loosening their weight restrictions, allowing for heavier recruits, 1200 WOAI reports.

"Today, youth are more sedentary than they used to be. To bring them in and make them airmen, we had to change a few things," Leslie Brown with Air Force Recruiting tells our reporter Michael Board.

Male recruits are now permitted to have up to 26% body fat. That's an increase from 20%. Females can have 36% body fat. That's up from 28%.

Brown, who is stationed at San Antonio's Randolph Air Force Base, says the move puts the branch in line with the other services. She says, in the past, they've told recruits to seek out the Army or Navy instead, because the body fat standards were lower.

"They've not seen any negative impact."

Earlier this year, the secretary of the Air Force Secretary said the branch is expected to miss its active-duty recruiting goal by 10% this year.

"We are swimming upstream against reduced propensity to serve nationally across the board and a limited percentage of qualified candidates," Frank Kendall said at a speech the Air and Space Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium in Colorado.

Last year, a Pentagon study that found 77% of young Americans would not qualify for military service without a waiver due to being overweight.

"When considering youth disqualified for one reason alone, the most prevalent disqualification rates are overweight (11%), drug and alcohol abuse (8%), and medical/physical health (7%)," the study found.

Brown says they expect that the body fat changes will allow up to 100 more recruits to join the Air Force each month. And, even though standards are lowered, the future airmen will still be expected to meet physical fitness goals when they enter basic military training.

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