Buckenmaier, Susan (UMD SPH Epidemiology)
Dallal, Cher (UMD SPH Epidemiology)
Cruz-Cano, Raul (UMD SPH Biostatistics)
Background: Overweight and obesity is a national epidemic with numerous negative health consequences affecting individuals throughout the United States, and this issue is reflected and amplified in the Veteran population at the University of Maryland. A better understanding of factors that are associated with this disease process can help improve the health of those who have served in the U.S. Military.
Goal: The goal of this project was to gain a better understanding of how past military history is associated with current overweight or obesity.
Objectives: Primary Aim: To evaluate the prevalence of overweight and obesity and factors associated with this among the Veteran Student population at the University of Maryland. Factors include military service background, age, and sense of belonging, and will be assessed using data from the 2017 Veteran's Needs Assessment. Secondary Aim: To examine the role physical activity and sedentary behavior as potential effect modifiers on the observed association with being overweight or obese. This data will be gathered from the 2017 Veteran's Needs Assessment and will be compared to BMI levels within the population.
Approach: Participants in this study included University of Maryland, College Park veteran students. The study utilized a convenience sample of male and female student veterans recruited using an email and social media campaign and through announcements made at different events across campus with a high volume of the target population between November 3rd, 2017 and November 27th, 2017. The survey was a comprehensive assessment of the current veteran student population's attitude, experience, and health through self-reported data.
Results: Basic descriptive statistics have been competed to date.
Importance to public health: Research has not been conducted on the population of veterans at the University of Maryland, and there has been limited research at other university systems on the weight status of those with a military background. The proposed research can help University of Maryland and other schools better prepare and support military personnel who are earning their degree and make their experience positive while limiting the long-term impacts of overweight and obesity on health.