Preaccession fitness and body composition as predictors of attrition in U.S. army recruits

David W. Niebuhr, Christine T. Scott, Yuanzhang Li, Sheryl A. Bedno, Weiwei Han, Timothy E. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The Assessment of Recruit Motivation and Strength (ARMS) project evaluated whether active duty Army enlistees who exceeded weight and body-fat standards but were able to pass the ARMS physical fitness test were at elevated risk of early attrition relative to the traditional recruit population. Attrition among 1,146 overweight and overbody-fat (OBF) recruits who passed ARMS was compared to 10,514 fully qualified (FQ) recruits who began service in February 2005 through September 2006. The ARMS test includes a 5-minute step test and a 1-minute pushup test. There were no significant differences in attrition between OBF and FQ at 180 days: adjusted hazard ratios were 1.17 (95% CI: 0.83, 1.65) among females and 1.23 (95% CI: 0.95, 1.58) among males. This study indicates that physically fit recruits who exceeded weight/body-fat standards were equally capable of serving at least 180 days compared to those who met standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


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