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Military members getting liposuction to pass test

If you're in the military and you're too fat, you could get the boot. Now some members are turning to liposuction.
October 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Recent figures show more than 1,800 Army soldiers were booted out for being overweight in a one-year period. That's a 10-fold increase over five years ago. Now some are turning to liposuction.

Many clients visit Pacific Liposculpture in San Diego for more than just vanity. It's about their future in the military, all revolving around a method called the "tape test," which is taken around the neck and waist.

"I'd say I get a soldier every week or every other week at least that specifically come in for the tape test," said Dr. Michael Pasquale.

Pasquale, a former Green Beret, says with so many failing the test, his liposuction business is booming among the military.

Those who fail the test are ordered to spend months in a vigorous exercise and nutrition program. Even if they later pass, failing the test once can halt promotions for years, service members say, and failing three times can get them kicked out.

Some fitness trainers, though, like Tashina Devoer, say simply using a tape measure is not an accurate way to measure someone's body fat.

"Just by taking someone's measurement doesn't account for body fat and definitely doesn't account for someone's fitness level," said Devoer.

Jeff Stone, who is also a trainer and in the Army Reserves, doesn't like the method either.

"There's big, strong guys that will max out their P.T. test, but they won't make tape," said Stone.

But retired Marine Lt. Col. Mike Grice says it's the best way possible.

"To me it seems like a pretty good compromise because it's a way to test as many people as possible efficiently and effectively," said Grice.

The military doesn't condone surgically altering the body to pass the test but doesn't ban it either.