Women who have served in the military are a rapidly growing population. No previous studies have compared directly their health status to that of civilians.
To provide estimates of several leading U.S. health indicators by military service status among women.
Data were obtained from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, a U.S. population-based study. Health outcomes were compared by military status using multivariable logistic regression among the female participants (274,399 civilians, 4221 veterans, 661 active duty, and 995 National Guard or Reserves [NG/R]). Data were analyzed in August 2011.
Veterans reported poorer general health and greater incidence of health risk behaviors, mental health conditions, and chronic health conditions than civilian women. Active duty women reported better access to health care, better physical health, less engagement in health risk behaviors, and greater likelihood of having had a recent Pap than civilian women. Women from the NG/R were comparable to civilians across most health domains, although they had a greater likelihood of being overweight or obese and reporting a depressive and anxiety disorder.
Compared with civilian women, NG/R women rated their health and access to health care similarly and active duty women rated theirs better on several domains, but veterans consistently reported poorer health.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- Women in the military: where they stand.6th ed. WREI, Washington DC2008
- Integration of women veterans into VA quality improvement research efforts: what researchers need to know.J Gen Intern Med. 2010; 25: 56-61
- Systematic review of women veterans' health: update on successes and gaps.Womens Health Issues. 2011; 21: S84-S97
- Health status among 28,000 women veterans.J Gen Intern Med. 2006; 21: S40-S46
- Toward a VA women's health research agenda: setting evidence-based priorities to improve the health and health care of women veterans.J Gen Intern Med. 2006; 21: S93-S101
- Screening soldiers in outpatient care for mental health concerns.Mil Med. 2008; 173: 17-24
- Millennium Cohort: the 2001-2003 baseline prevalence of mental disorders in the U.S. military.J Clin Epidemiol. 2007; 60: 192-201
- Deployment stressors, gender, and mental health outcomes among Gulf War I veterans.J Trauma Stress. 2005; 18: 272-284
- Deployment stressors and posttraumatic stress symptomatology: comparing active duty and National Guard/Reserve personnel from Gulf War I.J Trauma Stress. 2008; 21: 66-74
- The health of UK military personnel who deployed to the 2003 Iraq war: a cohort study.Lancet. 2006; 367: 1731-1741
- Bringing the war back home: mental health disorders among 103,788 U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seen at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities.Arch Intern Med. 2007; 167: 476-482
- Factors predicting health behaviors among Army Reserve, active duty Army, and civilian hospital employees.Mil Med. 2004; 169: 942-947
- Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems before and after military combat deployment.JAMA. 2008; 300: 663-675
- The physical and mental health of a large military cohort: baseline functional health status of the Millennium Cohort.BMC Public Health. 2007; 7: 340
- Gender disparities in Veterans Health Administration care: importance of accounting for veteran status.Med Care. 2008; 46: 549-553
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System operational and user's guide.ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Data/Brfss/userguide.pdfDate: 2006
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey data.DHHS, Atlanta GA2010
- Population estimates.
- Self-reported frequent mental distress among adults—U.S., 1993–2001.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004; 53: 963-966
- Depression, anxiety, and physical impairments and quality of life in the U.S. noninstitutionalized population.Psychiatr Serv. 2004; 55: 1408-1413
- Clustering of multiple healthy lifestyle habits and health-related quality of life among U.S. adults with diabetes.Diabetes Care. 2007; 30: 1770-1776
- Health-related quality of life among women of reproductive age: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 1998-2001.J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2003; 12: 5-9
- Disparities in health-related quality of life: a comparison of lesbians and bisexual women.Am J Public Health. 2010; 100: 2255-2261
- Executive summary of the clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults.Arch Intern Med. 1998; 158: 1855-1867
- Disparities in health insurance coverage, access, and outcomes for individuals in same-sex versus different-sex relationships, 2000-2007.Am J Public Health. 2010; 100: 489-495
- Inference and missing data.Biometrika. 1976; 63: 581-592
- Management and recall to active duty of retired soldiers of the army in support of mobilization and peacetime operations.(Washington DC: Army Regulation 601-10)
- Comparing the smoking behavior of veterans and nonveterans.Public Health Rep. 1997; 112: 212-217
- The burden of obesity among a national probability sample of veterans.J Gen Intern Med. 2006; 21: 915-919
- Obesity prevalence among veterans at Veterans Affairs medical facilities.Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28: 291-294
- Prevalence of overweight and obesity among U.S. military veterans.Mil Med. 2008; 173: 544-549
- The state of women veterans' health research.J Gen Intern Med. 2006; 21: S82-S92
- Medical profile of women Veterans Administration outpatients who report a history of sexual assault occurring while in the military.J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 1999; 8: 835-845
- Relationships among trauma exposure, chronic posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and self-reported health in women: replication and extension.J Trauma Stress. 2000; 13: 115-128
- Posttraumatic stress disorder and war-zone exposure as correlates of perceived health in female Vietnam War veterans.J Consult Clin Psychol. 1994; 62: 1235-1240
- A new generation of women veterans: stressors faced by women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.Clin Psychol Rev. 2009; 29: 685-694
- Association between compensation status and outcome after surgery: a meta-analysis.JAMA. 2005; 293: 1644-1652
- Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in U.S. veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011; 68: 1072-1080
- Use of VA health care services by women veterans: findings from a national sample.Women Health. 2003; 38: 77-91
- Evolving comprehensive VA women's health care: patient characteristics, needs, and preferences.Womens Health Issues. 2011; 21: S120-S129
- Women and war.J Gen Intern Med. 2006; 21: S5-S10
- Are veterans seeking Veterans Affairs' primary care as healthy as those seeking Department of Defense primary care?.Psychosom Med. 2002; 64: 676-683
- An evaluation of the effect of military service on mortality: quantifying the healthy soldier effect.Ann Epidemiol. 2008; 18: 928-936
- Health-related quality of life of U.S. military personnel: a population-based study.Mil Med. 2003; 168: 941-947
- Integrating a multimode design into a national random-digit-dialed telephone survey.Prev Chronic Dis. 2011; 8: A145
- War-related stressors as predictors of post-deployment health of air force women.Womens Health Issues. 2011; 21: S152-S159
- Active duty demographic profile.
Published by Elsevier Inc.