ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Public Health Center released the fifth annual Health of the Force report May 8. The report presents Army-wide and installation-level data for Active Component Soldiers for 20 health, wellness and environmental indicators, including injury, behavioral health, sleep disorders and heat risk. It also incorporates a number of “spotlight” vignettes highlighting emerging health initiatives, success stories, or issues of Command interest.The purpose of the report is to empower Army senior leaders with knowledge and context to improve Soldier health and readiness, said Lisa Ruth, the report’s product manager and APHC program manager for Population Health Reporting.The 2019 report benefits from APHC’s new partnership with the Army Analytics Group, which provided most of the line-level medical and personnel data used for the report. This improved the granularity of the dataset and permitted more detailed demographic analysis and customized summarizations of the health metrics used in the report.The 2019 report will soon be enhanced by a new version of Health of the Force Online, an interactive interface that allows users to drill down into Army population health datasets.“Our team is proud to create a suite of products that can be used together to facilitate informed decisions that positively impact readiness, health and well-being of Soldiers and the total Army Family,” said Ruth.Every year the population report identifies emerging health trends and potential areas of concern to bring to the attention of Army leaders and stakeholders. In 2019, the Health of the Force introduced a new environmental health indicator that quan¬tifies the portion of the year likely to experience heat risk at garrison popula¬tion centers, and compares it to historic trends for the region. For example, 39 percent of Soldiers were stationed at an installation with more than 100 heat risk days, mostly concentrated in the south and southeast U.S.According to the 2019 Health of the Force report, the total number of diagnosed heat illness cases has increased over the last five years. In 2018, 1,499 incident cases of heat illness occurred. Heat illness refers to a group of conditions that occur when the body is unable to compensate for increased body temperatures due to hot and humid environmental conditions and/or exertion during exercise or training. Of the incident cases, the majority (80 percent) were heat exhaustion, and the remaining 20 percent were heat stroke. Although heat exhaustion and heat stroke were diagnosed and reported year-round,the number of incident cases of heat illness was highest during the warmer months (May through September).Additional report highlights include the finding that only 39 percent of Soldiers attained the target seven hours of sleep on weeknights, and 17 percent were classified as obese, compared to 26 percent of a similar population of U.S. adults. Fifty-three percent of Soldiers had a new injury in the reporting year and 7.2 percent reported the use of electronic cigarettes. Additionally, the most prevalent chronic disease was arthritis (9.3 percent), followed by cardiovascular disease (6 percent).Senior Army leaders are using the Health of the Force report to further understand the health of their communities and to improve the environment, infrastructure and nutrition on their installations. In addition to data highlighting challenges and successes, the report includes brief narratives describing the latest advancements in injury and disease prevention and mitigation. The report provides meaningful data for senior Army leaders to create cultural and programmatic change in support of the total Army’s overall readiness and health.“The range of health metrics detailed in Health of the Force represents an evidence-based resource that can help Army leaders understand the causes of and contributors to medical non-readiness, and direct informed policy and programmatic efforts to optimize Soldier health,” said John Resta, director of the U.S. Army Public Health Center and acting deputy chief of staff of Public Health for the U.S. Army Medical Command. “Now in our fifth year, the Health of the Force report continues to provide meaningful data and information through rigorous research and analyses. I’m extremely proud of the exemplary effort made by our APHC team and partners in putting this report together.”Readers are encouraged to provide feedback or seek more specific consultative services by contacting the APHC Health of the Force team through the “Contact Us” button on the APHC Health of the Force website, which also provides links to all previous year reports.To read the 2019 Health of the Force report visit: http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/campaigns/hof.The Army Public Health Center enhances Army readiness by identifying and assessing current and emerging health threats, developing and communicating public health solutions, and assuring the quality and effectiveness of the Army’s Public Health Enterprise.