2015 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS)
Jun 21, 2018
How Well Are Service Members Taking Care of Themselves
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The health related behaviors survey for active-duty service members
More than 1/2 ½
6.1% identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)
LGBT personnel were more likely than their peers to report moderate and severe depression, self-injury, suicide ideation and attempts, risky sexual behavior, binge drinking, and current cigarette use.
61.3% reported at least one prior combat or noncombat deployment
Among those who had ever deployed:
Among those deployed in the past three years:
The Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS) is the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s flagship survey for understanding the health, health-related behaviors, and well-being of active-duty service members.
The 2015 HRBS shows that active-duty service members generally have better health and health-related behaviors than the U.S. adult population.
Exceptions include binge and hazardous alcohol use, common mental health conditions, and sleep problems.
Nicotine use is comparable to civilian populations; cigarette use is down, but e-cigarette use has significantly increased since the 2011 HRBS.
Obesity compares favorably to civilian populations and has been largely stable over recent HRBSs; percentage overweight is a possible concern, but measurement method may be an issue.
HIV testing among those at high risk may be an opportunity for improvement.
Currently, there are no military-appropriate benchmarks for comparison purposes.
Development of military-appropriate population benchmarks may facilitate goal-setting, command visibility, and incremental improvements in health-related readiness.
A low overall response rate (8.6%) suggests that the results should be interpreted with caution and in conjunction with other existing data. New ways to improve survey response rates are needed, including focusing survey content, shifting to a confidential rather than anonymous survey, and addressing information technology issues related to use of a non-DoD email address. The above comparisons to the general adult population do not control for differences in demographic composition.
Adapted from 2015 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey (HRBS) of Active-Duty Service Members: Final Report, by Sarah O. Meadows, Charles C. Engel, Rebecca L. Collins, Robin Beckman, Matthew Cefalu, Jennifer Hawes-Dawson, Molly Doyle, Amii M. Kress, Lisa Sontag-Padilla, Rajeev Ramchand, and Kayla M. Williams, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-1695-OSD, 2018. The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. For the complete report detailing these and other findings, visit www.rand.org/t/RR1695.
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