August 13, 2012 By the Numbers

August 13, 2012 By the Numbers

16% versus 10%

The percentage of veterans ages 24-65 who report being in fair or poor health, compared with civilians in the same age group, according to a new data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), The Health of Male Veterans and Nonveterans Aged 25–64: United States, 2007–2010 (

More than 12 million men aged 25–64 in the U.S. are veterans -- 15% of the total U.S. male population at those ages -- according to the NCHS.

Fewer than 5% of veterans ages 25-64 report "serious psychological stress," the data brief says. In the age group 45-54, the percentage of veterans reporting psychological distress was significantly higher than among civilians -- 5% versus 3%. In the age groups 25–44 and 55–64, there were no signicant percentage differences between the veteran and civilian male population.

In summary, the NCHS notes:

When age differences are examined, only veterans aged 45–54 are significantly more likely than nonveterans to report fair or poor health and serious psychological distress. Other health disadvantages for veterans (e.g., the prevalence of two or more chronic conditions) appear at age 45 and over. Differences in work limitations between veterans and nonveterans are seen beginning at age 35. However, the measures presented here do not reveal major health differences between male veterans and nonveterans aged 25–34.
The health differences that appear at older ages suggest that the effects of military service on health may appear later in life. Veterans also differ from nonveterans in some sociodemographic characteristics, and these characteristics may be related to observed differences in their health and functioning. Veterans are more likely to have health insurance, which may influence their access to health care and the likelihood of being diagnosed with various conditions.