The influence of anthropometrics on physical employment standard performance

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Abstract

Background

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recently implemented the Fitness for Operational Requirements of CAF Employment (FORCE), a new physical employment standard (PES). Data collection throughout development included anthropometric profiles of the CAF.

Aims

To determine if anthropometric measurements and demographic information would predict the performance outcomes of the FORCE and/or Common Military Task Fitness Evaluation (CMTFE).

Methods

We conducted a secondary analysis of data from FORCE research. We obtained bioelectrical impedance and segmental analysis. Statistical analysis included correlation and linear regression analyses.

Results

Among the 668 study subjects, as predicted, any task requiring lifting, pulling or moving of an object was significantly and positively correlated (r > 0.67) to lean body mass (LBM) measurements. LBM correlated with stretcher carry (r = 0.78) and with lifting actions such as sand bag drag (r = 0.77), vehicle extrication (r = 0.71), sand bag fortification (r = 0.68) and sand bag lift time (r = −0.67). The difference between the correlation of dead mass (DM) with task performance compared with LBM was not statistically significant.

Conclusions

DM and LBM can be used in a PES to predict success on military tasks such as casualty evacuation and manual material handling. However, there is no minimum LBM required to perform these tasks successfully. These data direct future research on how we should diversify research participants by anthropometrics, in addition to the traditional demographic variables of gender and age, to highlight potential important adverse impact with PES design. In addition, the results can be used to develop better training regimens to facilitate passing a PES.

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