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Veteran Physical & Mental Health

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Veteran Physical & Mental Health

According to the Life After Service Studies, Canadian Regular Force Veterans (released from 1998-2012) reported high levels of life satisfaction. However, when compared to the general Canadian pop-ulation, there are some areas of concern for Veterans including much higher prevalences of chronic pain, musculoskeletal disorders, hearing problems and mental health conditions (see Figure 1).

  1. Majority rate health "very good/excellent"
    Over half of Regular Force Vet-erans (53%) rate their health as “very good/excellent”. This is less than the general Canadian population (63%).

  2. Physical health conditions more likely
    Chronic physical health condi-tions are 3-4 times more prevalent in Regular Force Veterans than chronic mental health conditions.

  3. Co-occurrence is common
    90% of those with a mental health condition also report a physical health condition. This comorbidity has a disproportionate impact on the Veteran’s quality of life.

  4. Stress levels similar to Canadians.
    Regular Force Veterans are slightly less likely than the general Canadian population to report high life stress (23% vs 26%).


Figure 1: Prevalence of Chronic Conditions
Canadian General Population Regular Force Veterans
Mood disorder 6.3% 17.1%
Anxiety disorder 5.6% 11.1%
PTSD 1.3% 13.1%
Arthritis 10.8% 22.4%
Back problems 18.8% 34.5%
Chronic pain 20.1% 33.8%
Obesity 20.2% 26.1%
Cardiovascular 16.8% 19.3%
Migraine 8.2% 14.1%
Hearing problems 2.2% 8.5%
Gastrointestinal 5.2% 8.6%
Respiratory 8.1% 7.2%
Diabetes 5.2% 5.6%
Cancer 1.3% 1.6%

Info Brief Reference (Veteran Physical and Mental Health):

Thompson JM, Van Til L, Poirier A, Sweet J, McKinnon K, Sudom K, Dursun S, Pedlar D. Health and Well-Being of Canadian Armed Forces Veterans: Findings from the 2013 Life After Service Survey. Charlottetown PE: Research Directorate, Veterans Affairs Canada.03 July 2014.

For full reports, contact: VAC.research-recherche.ACC@vac-acc.gc.ca

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