U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



2012 Elsevier Inc.


U.S. Government work


PURPOSE: The characteristics of U.S. military personnel who use dietary supplements have not been well described. This study aimed to determine whether deployment experience and physical activity were associated with the use of bodybuilding, energy, or weight-loss supplement among U.S. military personnel.

METHODS: Self-reported data from active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard participants of the Millennium Cohort Study collected from 2007–2008 (nZ106,698) on supplement use, physical activity, and other behavioral data were linked with deployment and demographic data. We used multivariable logistic regression sex-stratified models to compare the adjusted odds of each type of supplement use among those with deployment experience in support of operations in Iraq or Afghanistan and those engaged in aerobic or strength-training activities.

RESULTS: Overall, 46.7% of participants reported using at least one type of supplement, and 22.0% reported using multiple supplements. Male deployers were more likely to use bodybuilding supplements, whereas female deployers were more likely to use weight-loss supplements. Physically active and younger subjects reported all types of supplement use. Men and women reporting 5 or less hours of sleep per night were more likely to use energy supplements.

CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of supplement use and important characteristics found to be associated with their use, including deployment, physical activity, and suboptimal sleep, suggest focus areas for future research and adverse event monitoring.