People with military service face higher rates of cancer, heart disease

People who have served in the military report being in better overall health, however, they face higher rates of cancer and coronary heart disease, according to a new survey.

A new America’s Health Rankings report found that those who have served are more likely to report being in very good or excellent health compared with civilians. However, they also report higher rates of several chronic diseases and unhealthy behaviors.

According to the report, people who have served have a 13 percent higher rate of cancer, a 62 percent higher rate of heart disease and a 67 percent higher rate of heart attacks.

In addition, service members 18 to 39 years old have a 39 percent higher rate of insufficient sleep and 23 percent higher rate of smoking, according to the report.

Physical inactivity rates for people who served in the military are also 22 percent lower than those of civilians, according to the report.

The report also found that while people who have served in the military have higher rates of health insurance coverage (90 percent compared with 83 percent of civilians), they are far less likely to have a personal health care provider.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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