Health-Related Behaviors and Odds of COVID-19 Hospitalization in a Military Population
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Health-Related Behaviors and Odds of COVID-19 Hospitalization in a Military Population

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      Understanding the impact of behaviors on COVID-19 severity can improve health promotion strategies. We investigated the association between health-related behaviors and odds of hospitalization for COVID-19 in a cohort of military personnel.


      This case-controlled study compared all active-duty US Air Force service members hospitalized for COVID-19 between March 5, 2020, and March 10, 2021 (cases), with their geographically matched peers who had COVID-19 and were treated as outpatients (controls). We used logistic regression to compare cases and controls according to self-reported sleep duration, physical activity, dietary factors, binge alcohol consumption, and tobacco use — with and without adjustment for sociodemographic factors, body mass index, physical fitness level, pertinent disease history, and psychological distress — resulting in crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs. The trend between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and hospitalization odds was assessed by using the Cochran-Armitage test.


      Ninety-three hospitalized cases were matched to 372 ambulatory controls. Adjusting for baseline characteristics and other health-related behaviors, cases were more likely than controls to report fewer than 7 hours of sleep, compared with 7 to 9 hours (OR = 1.84; 95% CI, 1.07–3.16), and were more likely than controls to consume 3 or more SSBs per week, compared with fewer than 3 SSBs (OR = 1.74; 95% CI, 1.03–2.92). In a dose–response relationship, higher SSB consumption was associated with greater odds of being hospitalized (P value for trend = .02).


      Interventions that address short sleep duration and SSB consumption may reduce morbidity from COVID-19 among military service members and potentially in the broader US population.

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