Jun 21, 2018
The health related behaviors survey for active-duty service members
More than 1/2 ½
5.3% 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.
56.5% reported at least one prior combat or noncombat deployment
Among those who had ever deployed:
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 airmen generally have better health and health-related behaviors than the U.S. adult population.
Airmen exceed Healthy People 2020 goals for a healthy weight. Their rates of problematic alcohol use are also below those of the general population. Current rates of cigarette smoking are below those for U.S. adults, as are rates of prescription drug misuse and illicit drug use.
Airmen, however, fall short of Healthy People 2020 goals for adequate sleep. Rates of e-cigarette smoking, cigar smoking, and smokeless tobacco use are also higher than those for the general population.
Development of military-appropriate population benchmarks, especially by service branch, may facilitate goal-setting, command visibility, and incremental improvements in health-related readiness.
A low overall response rate (14.2% for the Air Force and 8.6% across all services) 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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