Effects of military life on changes in body mass index of enlisted men: A cross-sectional study

Bb Ni Lee, S. W. Bae, S. Y. Oh, J. H. Yoon, J. Roh, J. U. Won

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Background: Obesity is a serious health problem with an incidence that is increasing rapidly. Enlisted men are a distinctive group characterised by 24-hour community-living and are likely to experience changes in body weight as a result of regular diet and exercise during enlistment. Methods: This study reviewed data from the Second Military Health Survey. Changes in body mass index (BMI) before and during military service were analysed using paired t-test. We calculated OR and 95% CI for factors affecting weight improvement during military service through logistic regression. Results: The mean BMI in the underweight group increased by 5.87 kg/m2 during service, while that in the normal weight group increased by 1.18 kg/m2. In contrast, the mean BMI in the overweight group decreased by 5.47 kg/m2 during service. The OR for an improved BMI in the subjective good health group compared with the subjective poor health group was statistically significant (OR=1.71, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.87). The OR for an improved BMI was significantly higher in the group with three or more times per week of strength training than in the group with one to two times per week of strength training, and was higher among the marines compared with the Army soldiers (OR=1.48, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.12 and OR=2.15, 95% CI 1.07 to 4.32, respectively). Conclusions: Strength training showed a statistically significant increase in BMI during military service. Furthermore, the BMI of men who were underweight before their service increased, while it decreased among those who were overweight.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Military Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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