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Med Care. 2014 Dec;52(12 Suppl 5):S45-9. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000229.

CAM utilization among OEF/OIF veterans: findings from the National Health Study for a New Generation of US Veterans.

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*War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC), Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center †Georgetown University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry ‡American University School of Education, Teaching and Health §US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Health, Post Deployment Health, Epidemiology Program, Washington, DC ∥Veterans Affairs Greenville NC CBOC ¶East Carolina University, College of Nursing, Greenville, NC.



Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly seen as an adjunct to traditional plans of care. This study utilized a representative sample of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans and OEF/OIF-era veterans to explore the prevalence and characteristics of CAM users.


The National Health Study for a New Generation of US Veterans (NewGen) is a longitudinal health study of a population-based cohort of OEF/OIF (deployed) and OEF/OIF-era (nondeployed) veterans. Data from the 2009-2011 NewGen survey (n=20,563) were analyzed to determine prevalence of CAM use by demographic and military characteristics, the types of CAM modalities used, and where the modalities were sought. Results were weighted to the entire population of OEF/OIF and OEF/OIF-era veterans.


There was no statistically significant association between CAM use and deployment. Those who used Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care after separation were more likely to be CAM users compared with those who did not use VA care; however, the majority of veterans using CAM are using it outside the VA health care system. Massage was the most prevalent CAM modality followed by chiropractic treatment; males were less likely to use CAM than women.


CAM modalities are being utilized by OEF/OIF veterans for health problems mainly outside the VA. Policymakers should determine appropriate use of these modalities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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