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Assessing Fitness for Military Enlistment: Physical, Medical, and Mental Health Standards
The committee also used data provided by military organizations in its analysis. Data provided by the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) were used to examine attrition rates for enlistees waived for a variety of medical conditions. Data provided by USACHPPM were used to examine the relationship between BMI levels and injury and attrition and the relationship between physical fitness levels and injury and attrition. These data were based on large research studies conducted at Ft. Jackson. Data provided by USMEPCOM were used to examine medical failure codes and the breakdown (according to the International Classification of Diseases, ICD-9) of those used most frequently. These failure codes are assigned on the basis of medical examinations at the military entrance processing stations (MEPS). The data provided also include the number of individuals in each failure code who received a waiver and was allowed to enter a Service. Other sources of military data were obtained from articles and technical reports identified by MEDLINE, the Defense Technical Information Center, and AMSARA. Most of these reports contain data that were provided to the committee through the briefings noted above. On the civilian side, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed to describe the distribution of BMI and aerobic fitness or maximal oxygen consumption (as measured by VO2max, described in Chapter 4) in the youth population ages 17 to 24. Each of these analyses is discussed in detail in the following chapters.
Data on trends in the youth population were obtained through a review of the professional literature. Major topics in this review include body composition and body fat, asthma, physical fitness, the biomechanics of musculoskeletal injury, various categories of mental health, and drug, alcohol, and cigarette use. Whenever possible, these reviews include breakdowns by gender and race. Finally, methodological topics dealing with the development and use of the recruiting cost model and the application of validity tests in research on selection were reviewed.
DIVERSITY IN THE ENLISTED FORCE
Men and women from all racial and ethnic groups have equal opportunity to seek a military career, provided they meet basic entry requirements. Throughout this report, various terms are used to describe racial and ethnic populations, including African American/black; Caucasian/ white; Hispanic/Mexican; Native American/Alaskan Native; Asian American/Pacific Islander, and multiracial. These terms reflect the history of racial discourse in American society.
Comparisons between the civilian population and the military population ages 18 to 44 indicate that blacks are overrepresented in the Services (21.8 versus 12.6 percent) and Hispanics are underrepresented (10