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Physical activity in postdeployment Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs services.
Buis LR, Kotagal LV, Porcari CE, Rauch SA, Krein SL, Richardson CR. Physical activity in postdeployment Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs services. Journal of rehabilitation research and development. 2012 Apr 5; 48(8):901-11.
Veteran activity levels may decrease between Active Duty and postdeployment. We examined attitudes and changes in self-reported activities between the two in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services. We conducted an online cross-sectional survey (June-August 2008) of postdeployment OIF/OEF veterans registered with the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Descriptive statistics summarized demographic data and attitudes, while regression analyses compared physical activities during Active Duty with physical activities postdeployment. Participants (n = 319, 15.6% response rate) reported that they believe staying physically fit is important, they worry about gaining weight, and they believe exercise will keep them healthy (77%, 72%, and 90% agree or strongly agree, respectively). Running (30.0%), Exercise with Gym Equipment (21.5%), Occupational Activities (14.9%), and Walking (13.0%) were the most frequently reported Active Duty physical activities. The most frequently reported postdeployment physical activities included Walking (21.1%), Running (18.5%), and Exercise with Gym Equipment (17.9%). Health problems (39%) and chronic pain (52%) were common barriers to physical activity. Postdeployment OIF/OEF veterans using the VA believe physical activity is beneficial, yet many report health problems and/or chronic pain that makes exercise difficult. Physical activity promotes health, and strategies are needed to facilitate physical activity in this population.