Jun 21, 2018
The health related behaviors survey for active-duty service members
More than 1/2 ½
5.5% 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.
62.7% 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 soldiers generally have better health and health-related behaviors than the U.S. adult population. Soldiers also exceed Healthy People 2020 goals for weekly physical activity. Nevertheless, there are several areas of concern.
Soldiers are more likely than others in the U.S. adult population to engage in binge drinking. Less than one-third get at least seven hours of sleep each night, well short of the Healthy People 2020 goal. The proportion of soldiers who are of normal weight is also below Healthy People 2020 goals, but measurement method may be an issue for weight comparisons.
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 (4.7% for the Army 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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