Exploring Health Outcomes for U.S. Veterans Compared to Non-Veterans from 2003 to 2019
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The physical demands on U.S. service members have increased significantly over the past several decades as the number of military operations requiring overseas deployment have expanded in frequency, duration, and intensity. These elevated demands from military operations placed upon a small subset of the population may be resulting in a group of individuals more at-risk for a variety of debilitating health conditions. To better understand how the U.S Veterans health outcomes compared to non-Veterans, this study utilized the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) dataset to examine 10 different self-reported morbidities. Yearly age-adjusted, population estimates from 2003 to 2019 were used for Veteran vs. non-Veteran. Complex weights were used to evaluate the panel series for each morbidity overweight/obesity, heart disease, stroke, skin cancer, cancer, COPD, arthritis, mental health, kidney disease, and diabetes. General linear models (GLM’s) were created using 2019 data only to investigate any possible explanatory variables associated with these morbidities. The time series analysis showed that Veterans have disproportionately higher self-reported rates of each morbidity with the exception of mental health issues and heart disease. The GLM showed that when taking into account all the variables, Veterans disproportionately self-reported a higher amount of every morbidity with the exception of mental health. These data present an overall poor state of the health of the average U.S. Veteran. Our study findings suggest that when taken as a whole, these morbidities among Veterans could prompt the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to help develop more effective health interventions aimed at improving the overall health of the Veterans.
CitationBetancourt, J. A., Stigler Granados, P., Pacheco, G. J., Reagan, J., Shanmugam, R., Topinka, J. B., Beauvais, B. M., Ramamonjiarivelo, Z., & Fulton, L. V. (2021). Exploring health outcomes for U.S. veterans compared to non-veterans from 2003 to 2019. Healthcare, 9(5), 604.
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