2018 Health-Related Behaviors Survey: Survey to help shape military health

Individuals across both active duty and reserve components will be randomly selected to complete the 2018 Health-Related Behaviors Survey. Information and data from the results helps shape health policies and programs to improve force health and readiness.

RAND Corp. recently began sending out invitations to mailboxes and military email for the 2018 Health-Related Behaviors Survey. The secure and voluntary survey of military personnel focuses on health, fitness and lifestyle questions.

This year, individuals across both active duty and reserve components were randomly selected to complete the survey. Information and data from the results helps shape health policies and programs to improve force health and readiness.

“This health survey is important to the [Department of Defense] and the services, and I strongly encourage you to participate,” said Tom McCaffery, principal deputy assistant secretary for Health Affairs.

Randomly selected service members can complete the survey by referencing the invitation for a specific web address and user code. Completing the survey takes about 20 minutes, and can be done any time through Feb. 28 during duty hours using a government computer, personal computer or mobile device.

The DOD asked RAND Corp. and its subcontractor, Westat, to design, field, and analyze the survey, which is web-based and confidential. Since the survey is confidential and managed by a third party, the DOD, the services, and a person’s chain of command will not know who completed it. No responses will be linked to personal identifiers or military records. These procedures are in place to encourage service members to participate in the survey without fear anyone will match answers back to names.

“We hope service members will recognize its importance and find time to sit down and answer these health-related questions,” McCaffery said.

Survey results help DOD find focal points for specific efforts across education, training, treatment and counseling to support service members.

With more information about where to apply attention, the survey is another tool for optimizing overall health status and fitness of the force.

Dating to 1980, the survey is fielded approximately every two to four years. Results from this year’s survey will be posted to the DOD website as soon as the final report is ready. 2015’s survey results can be found at RAND or the Military Health System website at www.health.mil.