Serving Those That Serve: A Practitioner Commentary on Health Promotion in the Military

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Since 1986, health promotion has had a place within the U.S. Department of Defense. Emphasizing the leading health indicators of Healthy People, the role of health promotion has continued to support the U.S. Armed Forces in perhaps one of the most challenging decades of wartime operations. Serving a sizable population with both typical and mission-related health issues, health promotion plays a critical role in maintaining and improving health. The purpose of this article is to highlight military health promotion by offering insight into the day-to-day life of a “boots on the ground” military health educator, reviewing the challenges and opportunities of working with a unique population. A summary of a variety of military specific initiatives is provided. Additionally, the article highlights the barriers and benefits to military health promotion. Last, the article concludes with a call to action to consider the role of all health educators in serving those that serve.

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