physical readiness test (PRT: 1 1/2-mi run, 2 minutes of sit-ups, 2 minutes of push-ups, and a sit-reach test) (see Appendix B, Table B-1) as similar to tests used in the civilian sector by the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research. Although the pass rate is 92 percent, Hernandez presented data showing the number of individuals who were separated from the Navy in 1995 due to repeated failure to pass the PRT (either the body fat portion or the PRT): 494 enlisted personnel and 1 officer. She also discussed the Navy body composition standards and the role of remedial fitness programs in meeting those standards.
MAJ Sylvia C. Friedman, USAF (1996), described the creation of the Air Force physical fitness program in response to a 1996 directive from the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff. The Air Force has mandated that Health and Wellness Centers be established at all Air Force bases. At present, there are 22 functioning centers; when the final goal is achieved, more than 75 centers will have been established. According to Friedman, these centers will be managed by health promotion managers who are within the wing commanders' chain of command. Attached to the centers will be civilian experts in exercise physiology, nutrition, and stress management who will prescribe exercise and diet programs, as well as stress management techniques. Finally, a fitness specialist will be attached to each center to run the fitness programs there. Mobile training teams will travel among the bases to train the trainers, to ensure adherence to programs, and to check procedures used for the cycle ergometry test that assesses physical fitness.
Friedman (1996) emphasized the need to market physical fitness programs to the troops and to the commanders in order to ensure acceptance of these programs as a tool to enhance readiness, rather than as a mechanism for passing a test. She emphasized the possibilities of greater work capacity and fewer sick days as positive outcomes that the commanders can understand.
The replacement of the 2-mi run with the cycle ergometry test as the Air Force's measure of physical fitness was also discussed. According to Friedman (1996), the rationale for this change, which occurred in 1992, appears to be that several people had died or suffered serious cardiovascular complications while doing the 2-mi run. Although both tests measure aerobic capacity, which the Air Force believes to be the best measure of total fitness and work capacity, the cycle ergometry test is a submaximal stress test, whereas the run was, at least for many people, a maximal stress test. During the discussion, Friedman explained that the annual pass rate is 81 percent, and while the Air Force hopes the new test will promote regular workouts, only 50 percent of personnel report doing regular physical activity. She also mentioned that no one as yet has correlated performance on the cycle ergometry test with performance on the PFTs used by the other three branches.
Further, according to Friedman (1996), personnel must be counseled not to rely on an exercycle for regular workouts, as it does not involve weight-bearing exercise and thus cannot help prevent osteoporosis. In response to a question on the effectiveness of the military's remedial fitness programs, Friedl (1996) remarked that the recidivism and drop-out rate from the Army program is still quite high, so that, as yet, there is a policy rather than a program in place.
A brief discussion ensued on the ability of women with low body weight to perform to expectations. While none of the speakers found a problem with this, Hernandez (1996) reminded the group that because each branch of the military has a different mission, each has different performance standards. This fact argues against a single (DoD-wide) accession standard.
In summary, all three speakers emphasized the following points: