An Evaluation of the Effect of Military Service on Mortality: Quantifying the Healthy Soldier Effect

McLaughlin, R., Nielsen, L. and Waller, M. (2008) An Evaluation of the Effect of Military Service on Mortality: Quantifying the Healthy Soldier Effect. Annals of Epidemiology, 18 12: 928-936. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.09.002

Author McLaughlin, R.
Nielsen, L.
Waller, M.
Title An Evaluation of the Effect of Military Service on Mortality: Quantifying the Healthy Soldier Effect
Journal name Annals of Epidemiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1047-2797
Publication date 2008-11-27
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.09.002
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 18
Issue 12
Start page 928
End page 936
Total pages 9
Editor Rothenberg, R.
Place of publication United States
Publisher Elsevier Inc
Language eng
Subject C1
810109 Personnel
920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified
111706 Epidemiology
Abstract PURPOSE: The healthy soldier effect denotes the proposition that military populations are likely to be healthier than other populations. A systematic review was conducted which aimed to quantify the magnitude of the healthy soldier effect. METHODS: Studies containing mortality rates of military personnel were identified from multiple electronic databases. Studies were included in the meta-analyses if they reported all-cause, cancer, or externalcause mortality in a military population and compared the rates to the general population. Fifty-nine studies were initially identified and 12 were included in the meta-analyses. RESULTS: The overall meta-standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for all-cause mortality for deployed veterans was 0.76 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.65–0.89) and 0.73 (95% CI: 0.56–1.97) for nondeployed veterans based on a mean follow-up of 7.0 and 2.4 years, respectively; for cancer mortality, the SMRs were 0.78 (95% CI: 0.63–0.98) for deployed veterans and 0.75 (95% CI: 0.50–1.14) for non-deployed veterans based on 6.7 and 3.1 years follow-up, respectively; for external-cause mortality, the SMRs were 0.90 (95% CI: 0.72–1.13) for deployed veterans and 0.80 (95% CI: 0.63–1.01) for non-deployed veterans based on 4.8 and 2.0 years follow-up, respectively. CONCLUSION: Military personnel do display a healthy soldier effect that decreases their risk of mortality compared to the general population. The overall healthy soldier effect estimated ranges from 10% to 25%, depending on the cause of death studied and the period of follow-up.
Keyword Healthy Soldier Effect
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 25 Mar 2009, 21:48:16 EST by Tegan Cosgrove on behalf of Centre for Australian Military & Veterans' Health