Changes over time in the "health soldier effect"

Waller, Michael and McGuire, Annabel C.L. (2011) Changes over time in the "health soldier effect". Population Health Metrics, 9 Article 7. doi:10.1186/1478-7954-9-7

Author Waller, Michael
McGuire, Annabel C.L.
Title Changes over time in the "health soldier effect"
Journal name Population Health Metrics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1478-7954
Publication date 2011-03-14
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1478-7954-9-7
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Start page Article 7
Total pages 9
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Death rates in military populations outside of combat are often lower than those in the general population. This study considers how this "healthy soldier effect" changes over time.


Standardized mortality ratios were used to compare changes in death rates relative to the Australian population in two large studies of Australian servicemen of the Korean War (n = 17,381) and the Vietnam War era (n = 83,908).


The healthy soldier effect was most consistently observed in deaths from circulatory diseases. A large deficit in these deaths in the initial follow-up period (10-20 years) was observed before rates tended to rise to the level seen in the general population. There was no healthy soldier effect in deaths from external causes in enlisted personnel, and these death rates were significantly higher than expected in the initial follow-up period among Korean War veterans and regular Army veterans of the Vietnam War. Those selected for national service during the Vietnam War exhibited the strongest healthy soldier effect of all cohorts assessed.


Patterns of the healthy soldier effect over time varied markedly by study cohort and by cause of death studied. In a number of analyses, the healthy soldier effect was still apparent after more than 30 years of follow-up.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
Centre for Military and Veterans' Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 13 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 03 Oct 2011, 10:14:52 EST by Dr Annabel McGuire on behalf of Centre for Australian Military & Veterans' Health