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Military Health Officials Make Survey Data Available to Researchers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2004 – Defense Department health officials are making anonymous data taken from surveys of active duty service members available to government researchers.

Since 1980, DoD has conducted confidential, anonymous surveys among active duty members through an instrument called the "Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Military Personnel."

Military researchers generally use summaries of the data to develop health promotion and prevention programs for military forces, officials said.

Data from the most recent survey, taken in 2002, has been placed in a public- use file by researchers working on such issues as strategies for decreasing alcohol abuse and tobacco use. Under research rules, DoD is required to notify the public this data is being used by researchers.

"This will be the first time that a public-use file for the health-related behaviors survey will be used since the survey series began," according to a DoD health affairs news release.

More than 12,500 randomly selected service members took the 2002 survey. Results were announced in March 2004. Officials stressed all information made available for public use is anonymous and contains no identifying information.

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