TABLE 6-4 Prevalence of Underweight as Determined by a Body Mass Index of Less Than 19.8 for U.S. Military Active-Duty Military Women

Characteristic

(N)

Prevalence

Service

 

 

Army

678

10.4 (1.5)

Navy

826

7.1 (0.9)

Marine Corps

569

12.6 (1.3)

Air Force

826

10.8 (1.1)

Age

 

 

<20

184

14.5 (3.8)

20–25

1,040

11.3 (1.2)

26–34

887

9.8 (1.0)

35+

788

4.9 (1.1)

Race/ethnicity

 

 

White

1,774

10.6 (0.9)

Black

680

7.6 (1.4)

Hispanic

251

11.9 (2.3)

Other

194

8.6 (2.0)

Rank

 

 

Enlisted

2,293

9.4 (0.8)

Officer

606

11.9 (1.6)

Total

2,899

9.8 (0.7)

NOTE: Prevalence estimates are percentages with standard errors in parentheses.

SOURCE: Survey of Health-Related Behaviors among Military Personnel (Personal communication, R. M. Bray, Research Triangle Park, N.C., 1996).

women (N = 486) worked normal shifts and hours in their assigned jobs (Thomas et al., 1991). There was some evidence that pregnant women would be transferred off ships before 20 weeks. Frequently mentioned hazards included toxic chemicals, fuels, fumes from paints, and other products. Less frequently mentioned hazards were noise, x rays, electric shock, and radiation.

The risk of radiation exposure of the fetus during high-altitude or space flight poses the single biggest medical concern in allowing women access to all aviation and space careers. Orthostatic intolerance during flight may contribute to lower gravitational tolerance during pregnancy. There is a chance of incapacitation due to spontaneous abortion, nausea and vomiting, weight gain, and unsteadiness. Spontaneous fetal loss was increased in flight attendants compared with the general population (relative risk, RR = 1.9) (Lyons, 1992).



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