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Andersen Completes the 2008 DoD Active Duty Health Related Behaviors Survey

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robin Schultze
  • 36th Medical Operations Squadron Commander
Since 1980, the Department of Defense has sponsored a series of triennial surveys to determine the prevalence of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use and the consequences of the use and abuse on work performance, social relationships, work efficiency, and the health of active duty military personnel. The last five years also focused on the prevalence of health behaviors other than substance use. This year Andersen Air Force Base was randomly selected to participate in the survey.

The Health Related Behaviors Survey is important because it is used to assess the nature, extent, and consequences of substance use and abuse in the entire military, assess trends in general health status and behaviors, appraise mental health, monitor special topics such as sexual health, gender specific issues, and deployment challenges and compare findings with the reserve components to assess strengths, limitations, and special needs of active duty personnel.

The results of the DoD surveys are then used to determine the overall effectiveness of current military programs and policy and to suggest areas for development of new programs. The survey helps the Under Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs determine where to focus funding and personnel. For instance, the development of Health and Wellness Centers in the Air Force are a result of this survey.

A high response rate of 80 percent or better is essential to obtain maximum DoD benefit from this survey. Without a high response rate, the information cannot be generalized across populations. Andersen exceeded that with a 98.6 percent response rate. Each base, no matter the size, is asked to recruit 600 participants. Andersen's contribution to the survey garnered a sample size of 592, 26 more than any other base at any other time.

If you are interested in reviewing the 2005 HRB survey can find it online at

Those of us who were selected to complete the survey can take pride in the fact that our answers will shape Air Force health programs and care in the future. Thank you to each and every respondent and everyone who helped provide respondents for the project. Your daily sacrifices to accomplish the mission do make a difference. Your sacrifice of precious time away from your mission to complete the survey was not wasted. Thank you for making the 2008 survey a huge success at Andersen.