Obesity and Morbidity Risk in the U.S. Veteran




Betancourt, Jose
Stigler Granados, Paula
Pacheco, Gerardo J.
Shanmugam, Ramalingam
Kruse, Clemens S.
Fulton, Lawrence V.

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


The obesity epidemic in the United States has been well documented and serves as the basis for a number of health interventions across the nation. However, those who have served in the U.S. military (Veteran population) suffer from obesity in higher numbers and have an overall disproportionate poorer health status when compared to the health of the older non-Veteran population in the U.S. which may further compound their overall health risk. This study examined both the commonalities and the differences in obesity rates and the associated co-morbidities among the U.S. Veteran population, utilizing data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). These data are considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be the nation’s best source for health-related survey data, and the 2018 version includes 437,467 observations. Study findings show not only a significantly higher risk of obesity in the U.S. Veteran population, but also a significantly higher level (higher odds ratio) of the associated co-morbidities when compared to non-Veterans, including coronary heart disease (CHD) or angina (odds ratio (OR) = 2.63); stroke (OR = 1.86); skin cancer (OR = 2.18); other cancers (OR = 1.73); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (OR = 1.52), emphysema, or chronic bronchitis; arthritis (OR = 1.52), rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia; depressive disorders (OR = 0.84), and diabetes (OR = 1.61) at the 0.95 confidence interval level.



U.S. veteran health, obesity, comorbidities, risk-factors, overweight, diabetes, Health Administration


Betancourt, J. A., Granados, P. S., Pacheco, G. J., Shanmugam, R., Kruse, C. S., & Fulton, L. V. (2020). Obesity and morbidity risk in the U.S. veteran. Healthcare, 8(3), 191.


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