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Given the large annual sample size of the BRFSS and the pooling of two years of data to produce estimates, the numbers presented on those who have served are backed by considerable statistical power. Further, the state-based sampling design of the BRFSS ensures not just representation by demographic variables such as gender, race and ethnicity, and age, but also by state and geographic regions within states.
However, there are limitations to interpreting data on those who have served. Since 2011, the BRFSS has asked only whether the respondent has served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. As such, data in this report do not distinguish between those currently serving and those who have been discharged, the nature of discharges, involvement in active combat, or the era in which one served. In addition, given the small number of women in the BRFSS sample who reported service, data are not adjusted by gender and should be interpreted with caution. It is known that health profiles differ by gender and that males compose a disproportionately high number of those who have served. In some cases rates may be driven by this dynamic.
Caution should also be taken when interpreting data on specific health measures. Of note, data on inadequate sleep were collected in just six states during the 2011-12 time period and not included in this report. Additionally, the BRFSS questions on health outcomes often measure whether a respondent has been told by a health care professional that he or she has a disease, excluding those who may not have received a diagnosis.

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