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NEARLY a quarter of people who apply to join the navy, Royal Marines, and RAF have failed a new fitness test, figures show.

Healthcare charity Nuffield Health said since it began testing prospective recruits for the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, only 77 per cent had passed – meaning almost a quarter had failed.

The charity is running around 13,300 tests per year as part of a three-year partnership with the Ministry of Defence.

The test includes a 2.4km treadmill run and a body strength test of press-ups and sit-ups. Unsuccessful candidates are offered the chance to increase their fitness, including guest passes and a training programme to use the Fitness and Wellbeing Centres, before a possible retest.

Nuffield Health fitness and wellbeing director Natalie Mumford said: ‘Health and fitness testing offers a unique overview of a person’s health and fitness, allowing them to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

‘We recognise the highly specialised careers of those working in the Armed Forces and we are especially proud to help these would-be servicemen and women to achieve their goals.’

Alan George, head of naval recruiting policy, said: ‘This testing is an important first step in promoting a life-long exercise habit and healthy lifestyle that will allow them to successfully pass training and then prepare them physically for the demands of operational employment worldwide during their careers.’