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You Are What You Eat

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Marines not currently within their height and weight or military appearance standards are feeling the burn.


March 19, 2009
Marine Corps News

Earlier this month, Marine Administrative Message 145/09 announced the termination of the 60-day notification and cautionary periods for the Body Composition and Military Appearance Programs.

According to Sgt. Maj. Danny Smith, senior enlisted advisor for the 2nd Marine Air Wing, BCP and MAP originally gave overweight Marines 120 days to meet their regulations without administrative repercussions.

In essence, a Marine checking into a command who was out of standards was not immediately put on a weight control program, Smith said.

“Now that grace period has been terminated,” he added. “The commandant simply feels that commanders now have been given sufficient time to identify those Marines that are not in compliance.”

The MARADMIN further states that service members on, or being processed for, BCP are ineligible for promotion, reenlistment or special-duty assignment.

“If you get assigned to BCP, it affects all kinds of things,” said Master Sgt. Donald Iskerka, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron’s training chief. “The bottom line is being on a BCP assignment has a negative effect on your career.”

If personal appearance and professional consequences aren’t enough reason to stay in shape, overweight individuals also have a myriad of health issues.

“If you’re overweight, you’re more prone to disease,” said Rebekah Rayfield, a Wellness Clinic dietitian at the Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point. “Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure – the sky’s the limit. Obesity affects pretty much every organ in our body.”

According to Smith, it all boils down to what is expected of all who don the eagle, globe and anchor.

“As the Marine Corps, it’s not just an image,” Smith said. “We have a standard, and the commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps are very adamant that we’re not going to reduce those standards. Marines are expected to be physically fit, and we’re going to hold them accountable to maintain that level of fitness."