The Community Guide: Providing Science to Support Military Readiness

The Community Guide: Providing Science to Support Military Readiness

November 5, 2019 0 By Jose Scott


The Community Preventive Services Task Force’s
2018-2019 report to Congress focuses on a great public health success story that has
strengthened our national security. The U.S. military depends on healthy and fit
service members in order to carry out its mission. Cigarette smoking is well-known to adversely
affect health. So when smoking rates among military personnel
stayed high, while smoking in the general population declined, it was a serious concern. Fortunately, the Department of Defense was
able to achieve dramatic reductions in cigarette smoking between 2011 and 2015, down to levels
similar to national prevalence. For example, smoking by active duty Army personnel
fell from 27 percent to 15 percent. How did they do it? By using multiple interventions, including
several from the Community Guide. These included smoke-free policies that limited
where people could smoke and policies that removed military discounts for tobacco products. The Community Guide has over 225 evidence-based
programs, policies, and services that are proven to help prevent asthma, cancer, cardiovascular
disease, diabetes, several infectious diseases, and more. The Community Preventive Services Task Force
commends the Department of Defense and military leadership for using public health interventions
to strengthen military readiness and resilience, and we urge other decision makers to use our
findings, too. Healthy communities lead to economic prosperity
and a more secure, stronger nation. Check out our report to Congress and our resource
bank of evidence-based interventions to improve health at thecommunityguide.org.