New-Onset Asthma and Combat Deployment: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study

Anna C. Rivera*, Teresa M. Powell, Edward J. Boyko, Rachel U. Lee, Dennis J. Faix, David D. Luxton, Rudolph P. Rull

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Recent reports suggest US military service members who deployed in support of the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have higher rates of new-onset asthma than those who did not deploy. However, it is unknown whether combat experiences, in addition to deployment, contribute to new-onset asthma risk. This study aimed to longitudinally determine the risk factors for developing asthma, including combat deployment (categorized as deployed with combat experience, deployed without combat experience, or nondeployed), among participants in the Millennium Cohort Study from 2001 to 2013. A total of 75,770 participants completed a baseline survey and at least 1 triennial follow-up survey on deployment experiences, lifestyle characteristics, and health outcomes. Complementary log-log models stratified by sex were used to estimate the relative risk of developing asthma among participants who reported no history of asthma at baseline. In models with adjustments, those who deployed with combat experience were 24%-30% more likely to develop asthma than those who did not deploy. Deployed personnel without combat experience were not at a higher risk for new-onset asthma compared with nondeployers. Further research is needed to identify specific features of combat that are associated with greater asthma risk to inform prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2136-2144
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • asthma
  • combat disorders
  • longitudinal studies
  • military personnel
  • occupational exposure
  • respiratory system
  • veterans


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