Obesity and Associated Adverse Health Outcomes Among U.S. Military Members and Veterans: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA SAN DIEGO United States
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Objective To assess the prevalence of obesity and associated health outcomes among US service members and veterans. Methods Data from three survey cycles 20012008 of the Millennium Cohort Study were used to examine the prevalence of obesity and associated health outcomes. Results Of the 42,200 individuals, 25 were of normal weight in 20072008. Rates of obesity were significantly higher among veterans 32 compared with service members 20. Over a 7-year period, obesity rates doubled among both service members 10-20 and veterans 14-32. Participants with obesity were significantly more likely to be male, older, less educated, in the Army or Navy, and separatedretired from the military. Hypertension, diabetes, and sleep apnea were significantly more common among individuals with obesity compared with participants with normal weight all P0.05. Individuals with obesity also had significantly higher rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder than individuals with normal weight and had lower mental and physical functional scores all P0.05. Conclusions These findings indicate an urgent need to enhance strategies for preventing and reducing excess weight gain within the military and veteran populations. Such strategies should aim to ensure a fit military force and promote health after military service.