Body Mass Index Trends of Military Dependents: A Cross-Sectional Study

Winegarner, James
March 2015
Military Medicine;Mar2015, Vol. 180 Issue 3, p337
Academic Journal
Background: Obesity is an epidemic affecting many people in the United States, to include military beneficiaries, with immediate and long-term implications on health care utilization and costs. We compared the body mass index (BMI) of officer vs. enlisted military-dependent spouses. Methods: Retrospective chart review of 7,226 random dependent spouses cared for at Madigan Army Medical Center. Statistical analysis of BMI was performed comparing the spouses of commissioned officers and enlisted soldiers. Results: There are a higher percentage of overweight and obese enlisted spouses when compared to officer spouses. In all age groups, BMI was 2.6 to 4.8 points higher in enlisted spouses, in both all-inclusive and female-specific analyses (p < 0.001). Male spouse BMI was not statistically different. BMI generally increased with age, with a statistically significant difference in BMI between age groups (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our study shows that the average BMI of enlisted soldier’s female spouses is significantly higher than officer spouses of similar age groups. A much larger proportion of enlisted spouses are obese. This analysis provides public health information for military primary care doctors and identifies at-risk individuals for targeted education and interventions.


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