Objective: To investigate injury risk associated with occupation and occupational physical demand levels among U.S. Army Soldiers.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Methods: Personal characteristics, physical fitness, military occupational specialty (MOS), and injury data were obtained by survey from Soldiers in an Army light infantry brigade (n = 2101). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) from a multivariate analysis assessing injury risk were calculated.
Results: Injury incidence for the prior 12 months was 43%. Physical fitness and behavioral factors associated with injury risk included age 21-29 (OR [age 21-29/age ≤ 20] = 1.37, 95% CI 1.00-1.90), BMI 27.5-29.9 (high-overweight) (OR high-overweight/normal = 1.62, 95% CI 1.20-2.18); BMI >29.9 (obese) (OR obese/normal = 1.73, 95% CI 1.23-2.44), cigarette smoking (OR Smoker/Nonsmoker = 1.34, 95% CI 1.11-1.63), and poor APFT two mile run performance (OR (Q4/Q1) = 1.61, 95% CI 1.19-2.19). Higher risk of injury was associated with some MOSs (OR (Chemical, Explosives & Ammunition/Infantry) = 2.82, 95% CI 1.19-6.68; OR (Armor/Infantry) = 1.53, 95% CI 1.13-2.07).
Conclusion: This study identified a number of potentially modifiable risk factors for injuries including: maintenance of healthy weight, improved aerobic endurance, and reduction in smoking. Results also indicate certain Army occupations may be at higher risk of injury. Further investigation into reasons for their higher risk is warranted.
Keywords: Injury; Military; Occupation; Physical demand.
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