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Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans

National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans

The National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, a study of 60,000 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and OEF/OIF-era Veterans, is one of the largest scientific research studies of this group of Veterans. The purpose of this study is to:

  • Provide insight on the overall health of OEF/OIF Veterans
  • Improve VA's understanding of what health services Veterans need
  • Maximize the quality of care that VA offers


More than 20,500 Veterans participated in this study.

Explore the research findings:

  • Cigarette Smoking 42.7% of study participants were non-smokers, 32.5% were current smokers, and 24.8% were former smokers
  • Military Sexual Trauma: 41.5% of women and 4% of men experienced military sexual trauma
  • PTSD: 13.5% of OEF/OIF deployed and non-deployed Veterans screened positive for PTSD
  • Sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis: OEF/OIF deployed Veterans were 29% more likely to report having sinusitis than non-deployed Veterans
  • Infertility: 15.8% of women and 13.8% of men reported that they had experienced infertility

Researchers continue to analyze data from this study and will share their findings in future publications.


Researchers randomly selected 60,000 Veterans from Department of Defense records of men and women who served in the military between October 2001 and June 2008. The study group included:

  • 30,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans
  • 30,000 Veterans who served elsewhere during the same time period
  • Representation from each branch of the military
  • Active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members
  • A sample of women Veterans to amount to 20% of the total group


A pilot of this study took place in 2009. The full-scale study began in summer 2009 and data collection closed at the end of 2010.


  • Invited 60,000 Veterans to complete a questionnaire on paper, online, or by telephone
  • Asked 2,000 study participants if they would allow researchers to review their medical records on certain health conditions

Questionnaire topics

The questionnaire covered a wide range of topics, including the following topics:

  • Health risk behaviors: Alcohol use, HIV testing, motorcycle helmet use, seatbelt use, sexual behavior, smoking, and speeding
  • Health conditions: Anxiety, asthma, cancer, chronic diseases, depression, heart disease, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, pain, PTSD, and TBI
  • General health: Functional status, general health perception, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health
  • Health care utilization: Doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescription drug use, use of complementary and alternative medicine, and VA facility use
  • Potential exposures: Accidents, blasts, burn pits, chemicals, dust/sand, falls, head injuries, military sexual trauma, smoke, and vaccinations


Aaron Schneiderman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.
Fatema Akhtar, M.S.
Yasmin Cypel, Ph.D., M.S.
Erin Dursa, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Matthew Reinhard, Psy.D.


Schneiderman AI, Cypel YS, Dursa EK, Bossarte R. Associations between use of antimalarial medications and health among U.S. Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2018.

Katon J, Cypel Y, Raza M, Zephyrin L, Reiber G, Yano EM, Barth S, Schneiderman A. Deployment and adverse pregnancy outcomes: Primary findings and methodological considerations. Matern Child Health J 2017; 21: 376-386. 

Barth SK, Dursa EK, Bossarte RM, Schneiderman AI. Lifetime prevalence of respiratory diseases and exposures among Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans: Results from the National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans. J Occup Environ Med 2016; 58:1175-1180. 

Dursa EK, Barth SK, Bossarte RM, Schneiderman AI. Demographic, military, and health characteristics of VA health care users and nonusers who served in or during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2009-2011. Public Health Rep 2016; 131:839-843.

Cypel YS, Hamlett-Berry K, Barth SK, Christofferson DE, Davey VJ, Eber S, Schneiderman AI, Bossarte RM. Cigarette smoking and sociodemographic, military, and health characteristics of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans: 2009-2011 National Health Study for a New Generation of US Veterans. Public Health Rep 2016; 131: 714-727.

Barth SK, Kimerling RE, Pavao J, McCutcheon SJ, Batten SV, Dursa E, Peterson MR, Schneiderman AI. Military sexual trauma among recent Veterans: Correlates of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Am J Prev Med 2016; 50: 77-86.

Reinhard MJ, Nassif TH, Bloeser, K, Dursa EK, Barth SK, Benetato B, Schneiderman A. CAM utilization among OEF/OIF Veterans: Findings from the National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans. Med Care 2014; 52 (suppl 5): 45-49. 

Dursa EK, Reinhard MJ, Barth SK, Schneiderman AI. Prevalence of a positive screen for PTSD among OEF/OIF and OEF/OIF-era veterans in a large population-based cohort. J Trauma Stress 2014; 27: 542-549.

Katon J, Cypel Y, Raza M, Zephyrin L, Reiber G, Yano EM, Barth S, Schneiderman A. Self-reported infertility among male and female veterans serving during Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom. J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2014; 23:175-183.

Barth, SK, Dursa, EK, Peterson, MR, Schneiderman A. Prevalence of respiratory diseases among veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom: results from the National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans. Mil Med 2014; 179: 241-245.

Yoon, FB, Jang D, Sukasih A, Kress AM, Barth SK, Mahan CM, Coughlin SS, Dursa EK, Schneiderman AI. 2013. Adjustments for misclassification of deployment status in a population based health study of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans. In JSM Proceedings, Mental Health Statistics Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association. 1996-2008.

Eber S, Barth S, Kang H, Mahan C, Dursa E, Schneiderman A. The National Health Study for a New Generation of United States Veterans: methods for a large-scale study on the health of recent veterans. Mil Med 2013; 178: 966-969.

Coughlin S, Aliaga P, Barth S, Eber S, Maillard J, Mahan C, Kang H, Schneiderman A, DeBakey S, Vanderwolf P, Williams M. The Effectiveness of a Monetary Incentive on Response Rates in a Survey of Recent U.S. Veterans. Survey Practice 2011.