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An International Perspective on Topics in Sports Medicine and Sports Injury


In certain physically demanding occupations, especially the military, body mass bias has substantive implications. Work physiologists have determined that despite body mass bias in the common military physical fitness tests, the larger service members were often better performers of the physically demanding occupational tasks (Bilzon et al., 2002; Lyons et al., 2005; Rayson et al., 2000). That is, they could carry more, more easily evacuate casualties, and better engage in heavy materiel handling. Yet, the smaller personnel were achieving better scores on the physical fitness tests, the results of which have significant promotion and advancement implications (Vanderburgh & Mahar , 1995; Crowder & Yunker, 1996). This chapter chronicles the fundamentals and applications of body mass bias in fitness and exercise physiology, to include the theory and empirical data used to evaluate it. It also explains the real-world implications of body mass bias in the military services and how to mitigate its undesirable or unintended effects.

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