Health practices in United States air force personnel compared to United States adult civilians

H. P. Wetzler, D. F. Cruess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seven physical health practices have been found to be related to both physical health and mortality in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. The practices include adequate rest, sufficient exercise, eating breakfast, no snacking, maintaining a reasonable body weight, no smoking, and use of alcohol in moderation. The purpose of this study was to describe physical health practices in the United States Air Force (USAF) and to compare them to those in the US adult population. In 1977 the USAF conducted a Health Survey that included questions concerning the seven physical health practices, and the National Center for Health Statistic's Health Interview Survey included a Health Practices Supplement. The results indicated a lower level of breakfast eating and more snacking in the USAF compared to other U.S. adults, but the difference may have been due to the relatively younger age distribution in the USAF. Air Force members reported sleeping less, and the females and older persons in both populations reported less physical activity. Air Force females reported drinking more than other females, but there appeared to be less heavy drinking in the USAF. Cigarette smoking in the USAF was slightly higher. The validity of self-reported health practice data is of considerable importance in these studies. However, there is no reason to suspect meaningful differences in reporting between the USAF and US populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-375
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


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