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Service Members to Be Surveyed About Health Behaviors

Image of Service Members to Be Surveyed About Health Behaviors. 16th Sustainment Brigade’s Team A conducts physical training around the Baumholder military community in Baumholder, Germany. All active duty and Reserve service members are eligible to receive the 2024 Health Related Behaviors Survey. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Anthony King).

The Department of Defense is fielding the 2024 Health Related Behaviors Survey to nearly 250,000 randomly selected active duty service members. This year’s survey includes questions mental and physical health, substance use, and other health topics related to service member readiness.  

Service members selected to complete the survey will find a link in the inbox for their military email address as it is recorded in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS. The survey is sent to a randomly selected group of active duty members across all military branches, pay grades, race/ethnicities, and ages.

Since 1980, the DOD has partnered with third party survey assessors to gauge health-related trends within the force. Typically offered every two or three years, the survey has evolved from focusing strictly on substance use and abuse to a broader look at overall service member health and well-being.

The HRBS is the Department of Defense flagship survey for understanding health, health-related behaviors, and well-being of service members, allowing leaders to better understand the readiness of the force,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Kenneth Richter, director of psychological health for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “Increased participation by service members help develop conclusions that better represent the overall population of the DOD.”

Survey answers are confidential, and a participant's responses are not shared with the Department of Defense or service branches in a way that can identify them.

Echoing Richter’s sentiments on survey participation, Dr. Daniel Evatt, the chief of the research execution section or the Defense Health Agency’s Psychological Health Center of Excellence, emphasized the importance of the survey in understanding the health of the force.

"If members of a particular occupation or demographic group don’t have a high rate of response, then we may not have a very good understanding of the needs of that group,” Evatt said. “ If you are invited to respond, then your answers will help make sure that we understand experiences of service members like you.”

Outcomes

"Some of the major findings from the 2018 survey showed an increase from the 2015 survey in reports of health-related behaviors that are associated with poor outcomes. However, service members’ self-reported behaviors appeared or above general population benchmarks set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for physical health and functioning, including rates of obesity, frequency of exercise, and high-risk group HIV testing," Richter said.

"The final results [of the survey] are read and used by policy makers, program managers, and researchers, and they can help us direct care where it is needed most,” Evatt said. “Sometimes the findings tell us that a behavior issue is more or less common than previously thought.”

The survey window extends from February to April.

The DOD has partnered with the RAND Corporation, a private research and analysis company, to conduct the survey. Recipients will receive an email from 2024hrbs.com with a survey control number and a link to the welcome page. For more information and an extensive FAQ on the purpose of the survey, recipients are encouraged to visit health.mil/HRBS.

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Last Updated: February 09, 2024
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