Sports Science Alert (SSA) #018
Bringing you the latest news in sport, science, fitness and nutrition
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Forces Fitness Standards
In the news this week, the FBI is conducting fitness testing again for their agents after a hiatus of 16 years. Although the physical demands of FBI agents has declined over the years as most of their work has shifted from the field to fighting crime while sitting at a computer, the agents are to undergo testing to combat a growing obesity and health problem within the agency.
The current fitness test requirements for the FBI require agents to complete a certain number of push-ups and sit-ups without a break, as well complete a sprint and a one-and-a-half mile run. Like most public services such as police, fire-fighters and the defense forces, the FBI have different fitness standards for men and women, and for different age groups. On the other hand, at another US federal law enforcement agency, the fitness assessment for the Secret Service has the same standards regardless of age, gender, or job applied for.
The argument for setting the same fitness standard for all people is that the staff mostly work under the same conditions and are required to (or demand to) do the same physical jobs, so they should have the same minimal level of fitness. On the other hand, it is argued that women and older people are generally weaker, and the setting of a standard test target for all ages and both sexes can be seen as disadvantaging these groups, and possibly discrimination.
Each method can be argued as discriminatory in some way. There is no easy answer, and each department have reached different conclusions about which is the right way to go. I vote for the same standard for all, no matter what age, sex, race or background the applicant is - I prefer the rational and less complicated method. What do you think? Reply and let me know.
In a somewhat related news story, Time website has released images this week of the assessment of the secret service in the 1960s, which includes some interesting photos of motorcade etiquette and shooting practice.
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