Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Objective: This study characterizes supplement use among United States Air Force members as well as attempts to identify an association between supplement use and Air Force Physical Fitness Test (AFPFT) scores or self-reported deployment health.

Methods: The study population (n = 24,020) was comprised of Airmen who completed a Web Based Preventive Health Assessment (WebPHA), Post Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) and completed an AFPFT within six months of their WebPHA. Binary logistic regression was performed to predict AFPFT scores and deployment health outcomes based on supplement usage. Chi-squared analysis was performed to determine if there is any significant association between self-reported supplement use and having an AFPFT score ≥75 or seeking medical care during deployment.

Results: Majority of the population (79.9%) reported using dietary supplements of some kind. Enlisted members, overweight and obese members were more likely to report supplement use than officers and normal weight members, respectively. Nutritional supplement users were 43% more likely to obtain a composite score (≥75), while diet/weight loss supplement users were 51% less likely to obtain a passing score. Specific types of supplements were associated with increased odds of seeking medical care, however overall supplement was not associated with passing the AFPFT or seeking medical care during deployment.

Conclusions: A large portion of Airmen report using dietary supplements. This study did not find a significant association between overall supplement use and improved physical performance, reflected on the Air Force Physical Fitness Test or improved health, indicated by fewer medical visits during deployment.

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mph_poster_bell_michael.pdf (3156 kB)

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