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The Air Force Fitness Program's One Mile Walk Assessment by design uses a formula to penalize a person based on his or her age. The formula used to compute a person’s one mile walk test performance as described in AFI 36-2905, titled “Fitness Program” penalizes a person for his/her age for every year they get older. Here is the formula shown below extracted from AFI 36-2905:

'A15.4. Scoring results of the 1.0-mile walk assessment.

A15.4.2. Calculate member’s score (estimated VO2 max) using the following formula which incorporates body weight (lb), age (yr), gender (males = 1, females = 0), time to complete one mile (min), and post exercise heart rate (bpm):

Estimated VO2 max (ml/kg/min) =

132.853 – 0.0769(Weight) – 0.3877(Age) + 6.315(Gender) – 3.2649(Time) – 0.1565(HR)

The “Rockport Walking Test – VO2max” website can be used to compute the VO2max score. This site uses the same formula found in AFI 36-2905 and is used by some Fitness Assessment Cells who conduct the test. The link is shown below:

This program changes the performance score based on age. The following example is provided but any performance numbers will yield the same result of lowering the performance score when ONLY the age is changed. Entering exact same performance numbers into the Rockport Walking Test web site of age 30, 190 pounds, 170 beats per minute heart rate and a walking time of 14 minutes and 1 second for a Male you will get a computed a result of 40.6 ml/kg/min VO2max. If the exact same performance is entered but ONLY the age is changed to age 56 the performance result will lower to 30.48 ml/kg/min. Looking at the minimum required VO2 component values shown in AFI 36-2905 the 30 year old easily passes his aerobic fitness test but the 56 year old man failed his test with the EXACT SAME PEROFMANCE! Here is the same performance information placed into the formula mandated by AFI 36-2905 for the 30 and 56 year old male:

Example for a 56 yr old male:

132.853- 0.0769(190) – 0.3877(56) + 6.315(1) – 3.2649(14.0166) – 0.1565(170) = 30.48 ml/kg/min

30 yr old male:

132.853- 0.0769(190) – 0.3877(30) + 6.315(1) – 3.2649(14.0166) – 0.1565(170) = 40.56 ml/kg/min

The Fitness Program’s age discrimination becomes more dramatic as the age difference is increased between individuals. Below is a 20 year old male with the same performance as shown above:

20 yr old male:

132.853- 0.0769(190) – 0.3877(20) + 6.315(1) – 3.2649(14.0166) – 0.1565(170) = 44.44 ml/kg/min

The 20 year old male is rated with HIGH FITNESS compared to the 56 year old male rated as LOW FITNESS again for the EXACT SAME PERFORMANCE! These two performance scores are at the opposite end of the spectrum with the same performance with the 20 year old being considered highly fit while the 56 year old is in a low fit could this be?

For more details on how the Air Force One Mile Quick Walk Fitness Test penalizes for increasing age got to this site:

Chris Cote