Jun 21, 2018
The health related behaviors survey for active-duty service members
More than 1/2 ½
4.4% 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.
57.0% 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 Marines generally have better health and health-related behaviors than the U.S. adult population, but there are some areas of concern.
Only about one in three Marines get at least seven hours of sleep nightly, below the Healthy People 2020 goal that more than two in three adults get such sleep. Marines are more likely than other U.S. adults to engage in binge and heavy drinking. Their tobacco use, including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes, also exceeds that for the U.S. population.
At the same time, the proportion of Marines who are of normal weight exceeds Healthy People 2020 goals. Marines also exceed Healthy People 2020 goals for physical activity. Moreover, their rates of illicit drug use are below those of the U.S. 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 (6.6% for the Marine Corps 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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