Diets: Veterans and Non-veterans

veteran
Veteran (Photo credit: Ant Smith)

Research Paper Title

Health-related Characteristics and Dietary Intakes of Male Veterans and Non-veterans in the Multiethnic Cohort Study (US).

Background

Nationwide surveys in the United States found that certain health-related factors, in particular cigarette smoking and obesity, were more prevalent in veterans than in non-veterans.

Purpose

The objective of this paper was to compare health-related characteristics and dietary intakes between veterans and non-veterans in the Multiethnic Cohort.

Methods

The cohort participants (aged 45-75 years), residing in Hawaii and California at baseline, completed a mailed questionnaire on diet, medical history, and lifestyle in 1993-1996. The current analyses included 20,939 men (14,975 veterans and 5,964 non-veterans) who returned a survey questionnaire on military service in 2007.

Results

Compared to non-veterans, veterans were more likely to be overweight and obese (BMI≥25, 61% vs. 55%), former smokers (54% vs.47%), heavier consumers of red and processed meat, and lighter consumers of fruits and vegetables. Within the veteran group, enlisted men were more likely to be obese, to have a history of smoking, to consume more processed meat and to consume smaller amounts of dairy products and fruits than officers.

Conclusion

The findings imply that veterans as a group are at somewhat higher risk of developing lifestyle-related chronic diseases than are non-veterans. Comparisons of actual differences in disease incidence and mortality in the Multiethnic Cohort between veterans and non-veterans will require several more years of follow-up.

Source: Kolonel, L.N., Potter, J.F., Zhu, K. & Park,S.Y. (2011) Health-related Characteristics and Dietary Intakes of Male Veterans and Non-veterans in the Multiethnic Cohort Study (US). Journal of Military and Veteran’s Health. 19(2).

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