For the first time in 14 years, the military is rewriting its body composition standards and the methods used to determine whether troops are too fat to serve.

Pentagon officials intend to publish a new policy later this year, a document expected to have sweeping effects on how the military defines and measures health and fitness. The review comes amid rising concern about obesity. Among civilians, it is shrinking the pool of qualified prospective recruits. And in the active-duty force, a rising number of overweight troops poses risks to readiness and health care costs.

“You can look around and see all the soldiers that are pushing that belly,” said Dr. David Levitsky, a professor of nutritional science and human ecology at Cornell University who has studied military nutrition and obesity. “They have to do something about it.”

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Image courtesy of US Marine Corps

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