Factors Related to Medical Readiness in Military Reservists
Name: Rebecca Sisk
Rank: MAJ, USAR
Organization: University of Illinois at Chicago
Performance Site: 7204th Medical Surgical Unit, U.S. Army, Bartonville, IL
Year Published: 1997
Abstract Status: Final
Military reservists need to be physically fit and trained in their specialties to be ready to serve in a safe manner upon activation. The objectives of this descriptive study were (1) to describe the health risks and health promotion behaviors of U.S. military reservists, (2) to determine predictors of eating, exercise, and health responsibility (health maintenance) behaviors in U.S. military reservists, and (3) to determine predictors of military weight standards pass in U.S. military reservists. Penders Health Promotion Model was the conceptual basis for the study. Participants (N=216) were reservists from all branches receiving medical checkups at a physical examination facility staffed by U.S. Army reservists in the Midwest. Demographic data, other personal factors, prior behavior, command emphasis on physical fitness and weight control, and health risks were obtained with a tool developed by the investigators and with the U.S. Army Fit to Win Health Risk Appraisal. Other tools included the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile-II (HPLP-II), the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale, the Eating and Exercise Confidence Survey, the Social Support and Exercise Survey, and the Social Support and Eating Survey. The predominant health risks of participants were smoking cigarettes, not wearing seatbelts 100% of the time, and rarely or never doing testicular or breast examinations. They scored highest on the spiritual growth subscale of the HPLP-II, followed in order by the interpersonal relationships, nutrition, stress management, physical activity, and health responsibility subscales. Predictors of exercise behavior were prior-related physical fitness and weight control behavior, perceiving benefits of exercise, perceiving fewer barriers to exercise, exercise self-efficacy, friend and family support for exercise, being a student, and command emphasis on physical fitness and weight control, providing 47.4% of the variance in the physical activity subscale. Predictors of eating behavior were eating self-efficacy, prior-related physical fitness and weight control behavior, and command emphasis on physical fitness and weight control, providing 33.8% of the variance in the nutrition subscale of the HPLP-II. Predictors of the health responsibility subscale were having a dental examination within the past five years, having a medical examination within the past five years, lacking trust in medical personnel, having a greater number of health risks, and working fewer hours per week in a civilian job, providing 24.4% of the variance in the health responsibility subscale. The only predictor of military weight standards pass was the barriers to exercise mean. Cases were classified correctly 78.1% of the time. This study provides confirmation that concepts in Penders model partially explain health behavior. Results of this study imply that the military should assess prior-related physical fitness and weight control behaviors of potential reservists before bringing them into the reserve force and that family support programs should include efforts to help family and friends support physical fitness and weight control.
Final report is available on NTRL: https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2002107...