Troops Turn to Liposuction to Pass Body Fat Test

Doctors say a number of military personnel are turning to liposuction to remove excess fat from around the waist so they can pass the Pentagon's body fat test, the Associated Press reports.

Special Section: San Diego's Military News

La Jolla plastic surgeon Richard Chaffoo said he has been approached by members of the military who are interested in liposuction.

“Unfortunately we can’t guarantee an active servicemember, if you do this procedure you'll pass a tape test," Chaffoo told NBC 7.

“It's certainly not going to save your military career any more than it's going to save your marriage," he added.

Some service members say they have no other choice because the Defense Department's method of estimating body fat is weeding out not just flabby physiques but bulkier, muscular builds.

A number of fitness experts and doctors agree, and they're calling for the military's fitness standards to be revamped.

Defense officials say only a small fraction of those who exceed body fat limits perform well on physical fitness tests.

The checks are designed to ensure troops are ready for the rigors of combat. Pentagon officials say the military doesn't condone surgically altering one's body to pass the test, though liposuction isn't prohibited.

Chaffoo said a BMI measurement would be a more accurate way to tell if a member of the U.S. military was fit for service.

"We do have different body frames obviously, some people are more muscular, so the test may be falsely abnormal," he said referring to the tape test.

Chaffoo said the best candidates for liposuction are patients who are within their weight range and are looking for some sculpting of certain areas.

People with a BMI score of 25 to 30 are usually considered to be poor candidates for liposuction, he said. The procedure will likely not give the desired results.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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