Date of Conferral



Doctor of Healthcare Administration, DHA


Health Services


Kourtney N. Nieves


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of overweight and obesity on veterans' careers. Obesity, once thought unproblematic for the military, is being recognized as a health concern that has expansive implications for the health and readiness of service men and women, as well as for veterans. There is an abundance of information on obesity within the general population, but research on the impact of obesity on military careers is limited. This quantitative, cross-sectional research study investigated how obesity is a challenge throughout a veteran's career, from enlistment to retirement, using an online survey to gather data related to demographics including rank, age, race/ethnicity, education level, marital status, and years of service. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, independent t tests, Levene's test, and the Mann-Whitney test. Results of the analyses showed that military veterans' overweight at separation contributes to their likelihood of adverse weight-related experiences while in the service, and that military veterans who are overweight or obese have more adverse weight-related experiences than those who were not obese when they separated from the military. Among respondents who were not overweight at separation, women had more adverse weight-related experiences than men. The findings of this study could change how military leaders and policy makers develop new programs, promoting a focus on the prevention of obesity rather than on causes of obesity. Understanding how overweight and obesity affect service members' careers could lead to increased appreciation of the importance of ensuring military readiness through interventions that address multiple levels of influence.