Obesity Risk Among West Point Graduates Later in Life

Tunde K. Szivak*, Melissa M. Thomas, Robert H. Pietrzak, Dana R. Nguyen, Diane M. Ryan, Carolyn M. Mazure

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Szivak, TK, Thomas, MM, Pietrzak, RH, Nguyen, DR, Ryan, DM, and Mazure, CM. Obesity Risk Among West Point Graduates Later in Life. J Strength Cond Res 37(6): 1284-1291, 2023 - The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate sex differences in health and fitness outcomes among United States Military Academy (USMA) graduates (class years 1980-2011). Subjects (n = 701 men, 641 women, age: 45.7 ± 9.3 years) were surveyed as a part of a larger investigation on risk and resiliency factors among USMA graduates. Physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short form and calculation of weekly metabolic equivalents (METs). Overweight and obesity status were assessed by body mass index (BMI). Significance for the study was set at p ≤ 0.05. Obesity rates for men (30.1%) were significantly higher than for women (16.6%). Men reported significantly higher (p = 0.01) vigorous METs·wk-1(1,214.6 ± 1,171.6) than women (1,046.8 ± 1,133.2) despite significantly higher (p = 0.00) BMI values (28.75 ± 4.53 kg·m-2) than women (25.90 ± 5.48 kg·m-2). Women were 89% more likely to have ever been on a diet and reported higher (15.2%) Army Body Composition Program enrollment rates than men (6.3%). Obesity rates among men reflect trends seen in the broader military, Veteran, and U.S. adult populations, whereas obesity rates among women were lower. Men may be at a greater risk for obesity later in life despite higher self-reported physical activity; however, lean body mass and self-report bias should be considered. Because lifetime obesity may be influenced by factors other than physical activity, health initiatives should use a comprehensive approach early in the career of military officers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1291
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Veteran
  • body mass index
  • military
  • physical activity


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