Results Are In: Study on the Health of OEF/OIF Veterans
The results are in from one of the largest studies on the health of Veterans who served during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
In 2009, VA initiated the “National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans.” Veterans who served between October 2001 and June 2008, including OEF/OIF deployed and non-deployed Veterans, were invited to participate in the study by completing a questionnaire on paper, online, or by telephone.
More than 20,500 Veterans participated and answered questions on a wide range of health topics including their health care use, illnesses and symptoms, health behaviors, and potential exposures.
VA is using the results of this study to gain insight on the overall health of recent Veterans, better understand the types of health services Veterans need, and to improve the quality of care at VA. Researchers continue to review data from this study and publish findings.
For more information and updated research findings, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/epidemiology/studies/new-generation.
Sinusitis, Asthma, and Bronchitis
OEF/OIF deployed Veterans were 29 percent more likely to report that they were diagnosed with sinusitis compared to non-deployed Veterans. Researchers found no significant difference in self-reported asthma or bronchitis between OEF/OIF deployed Veterans and those who were deployed elsewhere during the same time period.
As many as 15.8 percent of women and 13.8 percent of men who participated in the study reported that they had experienced infertility. Infertility is defined as trying with a partner to get pregnant for more than 12 months. Infertility among the general U.S. population ranges from 8 percent to 20 percent, depending on the definition used.
Study results revealed that 13.5 percent of participants overall screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—15.7 percent of the OEF/OIF deployed Veterans screened positive for PTSD, and 10.9 percent of Veterans who did not deploy to OEF/OIF screened positive. This suggests that PTSD is a health concern for both deployed and non-deployed Veterans.
Veterans who have experienced a traumatic event and symptoms lasting longer than four weeks, causing great distress, or disrupting work or home life, may have PTSD. Visit www.ptsd.va.gov for support and resources on PTSD.
If you are concerned about respiratory health, infertility, or other health issues, you can talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator. VA offers a variety of health care benefits to eligible Veterans, including infertility evaluations and some treatment.