HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Determinants of chronic physical health conditions in Canadian Veterans

Article

This research presents evidence for the prevalence of and factors affecting chronic physical health conditions in Canadian Veterans.

Abstract

Limited information is available about the determinants of chronic health conditions of Veterans despite the increasingly perilous nature of military engagements in recent decades. The results of this study stress the role of military service-related factors in the increased likelihood of chronic physical health conditions in Canadian Veterans. Army Veterans had an increased probability of musculoskeletal (0.08, p = 0.001) and gastrointestinal (0.05, p = 0.001) conditions and pain (0.07, p = 0.01). Veterans who were deployed had an increased risk of musculoskeletal conditions (0.08, p = 0.001) and pain (0.06, p = 0.001). In terms of non-service-related factors, the results confirm the role of obesity as a statistically significant determinant of chronic musculoskeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular conditions; pain and diabetes. Female Veterans were also at higher risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions. Low-income Veterans have increased probability of musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, pain, and cardiovascular conditions, and the risk decreased with rising income level. Finally, Veterans with mental health conditions had increased odds of musculoskeletal (OR = 2.79, p = 0.001), respiratory (OR = 2.40, p = 0.001), gastrointestinal (3.66, p = 0.001), pain (OR = 2.61, p = 0.001), and cardiovascular (OR = 1.45, p = 0.01) conditions and diabetes (OR = 1.37, p = 0.05). The findings have important clinical and health resource use implications as Veterans seek treatment in community settings once they transition from military to civilian life. They also serve to advance the research agenda on the health of Veterans, an understudied population in Canada.

Full Reference

Determinants of chronic physical health conditions in Canadian Veterans. Mayvis Rebeira, Paul Grootendorst, and Peter C. Coyte. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 2015 1:2, 32-42.