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United States university-based officer training and its influence on physical assessment test performance
  1. Jessica C Tom1,
  2. B K Schilling1,
  3. B Poston1,
  4. C L Turner2 and
  5. K N Radzak1
  1. 1Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  2. 2Physical Therapy, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr K N Radzak, Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA; kara.radzak{at}


Introduction Cadets participating in Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) at US universities undergo both Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) evaluations prior to commissioning. The current study examined the relationship between ROTC physical training (PT) attendance and performance in the APFT and OPAT, and characterised physical activity of cadets outside of PT.

Methods Twenty-six cadets’ (21 males; age=20.81±2.48 years; height=171.16±8.62 cm; body mass=75.49±13.17 kg; body mass index=25.68±3.37 kg/m2) PT attendance, and diagnostic (week 1) and record (week 13) OPAT and APFT scores were documented. Paired samples t-tests evaluated differences in APFT and OPAT scores between the diagnostic and record tests. Pearson correlations were utilised to determine if a relationship existed between PT attendance and test performance. Participating cadets also completed monthly self-reported physical activity questionnaire (September, October, November); findings were reported using descriptive statistics.

Results Cadets attended 87% of PT sessions between OPAT administrations and 85% between APFT administrations. Cadets significantly improved the following test components: standing long jump (p=0.034), seated power throw (p=0.029), shuttle run (p=0.005), sit-ups (p=0.003) and 2-mile run (p=0.045). A significant, positive correlation was found between PT attendance and APFT sit-ups improvements (r=0.473, p=0.015). Cadets’ frequently reported additional physical activity days per week (range: 2.8–3.1 aerobic, 3.2–3.8 strength/power, 2.9–3.2 core strength/endurance).

Conclusions Regular participation in a single semester of ROTC PT was found to significantly increase cadets’ scores in some, but not all, components of the APFT and OPAT. Self-reported physical activity results indicate that cadets regularly train outside of organised PT.

  • education & training (see medical education & training)
  • health & safety
  • musculoskeletal disorders

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  • Contributors All authors have participated in the production of the current research. JCT, MS, ATC contributed to the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and writing of the manuscript during her Masters’ work at UNLV. BKS, BP and CLT are faculty members at UNLV and contributed to study design, data interpretation and manuscript revision. KNR contributed to the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation and writing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for this article was provided by University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Institutional Review Board, Protocol ID #1316502-4.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Deidentified data are available upon reasonable request, via email, to the corresponding author.

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