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Public Health Rep. 1989 Sep-Oct;104(5):498-509.

Comparison of health habits of military personnel with civilian populations.

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Department of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061-0136.


The relationship between health habits and health status has gained attention in the literature in recent decades. In this report, the health habits of a particular occupational group--the military--are compared with those of the civilian population, and the extent to which the health habits of the military personnel are associated with their health status is examined. Responses to two surveys conducted in 1985 were analyzed by age group, sex, race, and educational level. The comparisons involved six of the seven health habits included in the Alameda study. Military personnel, because they are younger and their lives are more regimented, excel in meeting weight standards for the services and engaging in desirable levels of physical activity. Smoking habits of military personnel were less favorable than those of the civilians. An examination of the health status of the military for the year preceding the survey suggested that some health habits have immediate manifestations, but the impact of others may not be evident until later in life.

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