U.S. Air force recruit injury and health study

Am J Prev Med. 2000 Apr;18(3 Suppl):129-40. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(00)00109-4.


Objectives: To assess the types, rates, and risks of injury for male and female USAF recruits.

Design: Outpatient visits for female (5250) and male recruits (8656) were collected and analyzed for rate of injury, types of injuries, and risk of injury throughout a 6-week training period.

Results: One third of female recruits and one sixth of male recruits were injured at least once during recruit training. The overall rate for injuries in women and men was 63.0 and 27.8 per 1000 person-weeks, respectively. The adjusted relative risk for women versus men for all injuries was 2.22, and was consistent (1.67 to 3.27) across injury sites. Despite declining absolute rates of injury by week (106.1-13.4 for women and 53.7-13.2 for men), relative risk of injury for women versus men remained fairly constant throughout each training week. The relative risk for injury serious enough to result in medical hold was 1.69 for women vis-a-vis men. Approximately half of all medical discharges for women and men were for injuries.

Conclusions: Female recruits were injured twice as often as male recruits, and were 1.5 times more likely to be removed from their training cohort for injury. Relative risk for injuries to specific body areas remained fairly consistent, indicating that no gender-specific injuries were occurring. Further efforts to determine the cause of injuries should be undertaken, and interventions aimed at reducing the disparate risk of injuries in women should be developed and evaluated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Sex Ratio
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control