Anxiety and abnormal eating behaviors associated with cyclical readiness testing in a naval hospital active duty population

Mil Med. 2005 Aug;170(8):663-7. doi: 10.7205/milmed.170.8.663.


Studies of abnormal eating behaviors in active duty military personal have found rates similar to or higher than the general population. We have reviewed these studies and extended the research to examine abnormal eating behaviors in a heterogeneous population at a major military medical center. We found high rates of body dissatisfaction, abnormal eating behaviors, and worry about passing the semiannual personal fitness assessment in both men and women. Abnormal eating behaviors were associated with worrying about the personal fitness assessment, and these measures were associated with body mass index and gender. Our data extend previous research indicating that cyclic or external pressure to maintain body weight within specified standards can produce unsafe eating and dieting behaviors. We recommend changes to the current system to incorporate treatment programs aimed at recognizing and treating eating disorders with a goal of producing more fit and healthy service members.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Virginia / epidemiology