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Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD participate less in VA's weight loss program than those without PTSD.

Maguen S, Hoerster KD, Littman AJ, Klingaman EA, Evans-Hudnall G, Holleman R, Kim HM, Goodrich DE. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD participate less in VA's weight loss program than those without PTSD. Journal of affective disorders. 2016 Mar 15; 193:289-94.

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BACKGROUND: Three-quarters of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans enrolled in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care are overweight or obese. The VHA MOVE!® weight management program can mitigate the risks of obesity-related morbidity. However, many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans experience barriers to VHA services, which may affect participation, especially among those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression. Little is known about MOVE! engagement among recent veterans. We describe a retrospective evaluation of MOVE! participation among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with and without mental health problems. METHODS: As part of a national VHA mental health evaluation study, we accessed VHA patient care databases to identify Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receiving care from 2008-2013 who had = 1 MOVE! visit(s) and = 1 weight measurements (N = 24,899). We used logistic regression to determine whether mental health conditions were associated with having 12 visits/year (desirable dose of care), adjusting for demographic, health, and utilization factors. RESULTS: Among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans enrolled in MOVE!, 4% had a desirable dose of participation. In adjusted models, desirable MOVE! participation was more likely among those without PTSD; those who were older, female, and unmarried; and those who had higher baseline weight, more medical comorbidities, no pain, psychotropic medication use, higher disability ratings, and more mental health visits. LIMITATIONS: We used administrative ICD-9 codes. Sample only included veterans in VHA care. CONCLUSIONS: Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, particularly those with PTSD, had low participation in VHA weight management programming. Correlates of MOVE! participation were identified, highlighting opportunities to tailor MOVE! to improve participation for these veterans.

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