HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Body mass index, medical qualification status, and discharge during the first year of US Army service

Article

This research explores the effect of overweight and obesity in military recruits, focusing on body mass index (BMI) and medical status, and the link to premature discharge from the US Army in a large cohort of first-time-enlisted, active-duty soldiers.

Abstract

The high prevalence of overweight and obesity in military recruits and in the US population as a whole necessitates understanding the health effects of body composition and associated morbidity. In this study, we examined the effect of body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) and medical status on premature discharge from the US Army in a large cohort of first-time-enlisted, active-duty soldiers. We determined the odds ratios (ORs) associated with BMI and medical status at enlistment by using a retrospective cohort of first-time, active-duty army recruits. Enlistment BMI and medical qualification status play an important role in early discharge and may provide a valuable tool in the development of fitness, nutrition, and injury-prevention interventions in higher-risk groups.

Full Reference

Elizabeth R Packnett, David W Niebuhr, Sheryl A Bedno, David N Cowan, 2011, American Society for Nutrition, Body mass index, medical qualification status, and discharge during the first year of US Army service, 93, 3, 608-614.