Military Service, Childhood Socio-Economic Status, and Late-Life Lung Function: Korean War Era Military Service Associated with Smaller Disparities.

TitleMilitary Service, Childhood Socio-Economic Status, and Late-Life Lung Function: Korean War Era Military Service Associated with Smaller Disparities.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsVable, AM, Kiang, MV, Basu, S, Rudolph, KE, Kawachi, I, Subramanian, SV, Glymour, MM
JournalMilitary Medicine
ISSN Number1930-613X
KeywordsChildhood, Lung Volume Measurements, Socioeconomic factors, Veterans
Abstract

Background: Military service is associated with smoking initiation, but U.S. veterans are also eligible for special social, financial, and healthcare benefits, which are associated with smoking cessation. A key public health question is how these offsetting pathways affect health disparities; we assessed the net effects of military service on later life pulmonary function among Korean War era veterans by childhood socio-economic status (cSES).

Methods: Data came from U.S.-born male Korean War era veteran (service: 1950-1954) and non-veteran participants in the observational U.S. Health and Retirement Study who were alive in 2010 (average age = 78). Veterans (N = 203) and non-veterans (N = 195) were exactly matched using coarsened exact matching on birth year, race, coarsened height, birthplace, childhood health, and parental and childhood smoking. Results were evaluated by cSES (defined as maternal education <8 yr/unknown or ≥8 yr), in predicting lung function, as assessed by peak expiratory flow (PEF), measured in 2008 or 2010.

Findings: While there was little overall association between veterans and PEF [β = 12.8 L/min; 95% confidence interval (CI): (-12.1, 37.7); p = 0.314; average non-veteran PEF = 379 L/min], low-cSES veterans had higher PEF than similar non-veterans [β = 81.9 L/min; 95% CI: (25.2, 138.5); p = 0.005], resulting in smaller socio-economic disparities among veterans compared to non-veterans [difference in disparities: β = -85.0 L/min; 95% CI: (-147.9, -22.2); p = 0.008].

Discussion: Korean War era military service appears to disproportionately benefit low-cSES veteran lung functioning, resulting in smaller socio-economic disparities among veterans compared with non-veterans.

DOI10.1093/milmed/usx196
User Guide Notes

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29509934?dopt=Abstract

Alternate JournalMil Med
Citation Key9552
PubMed ID29509934
Grant ListDP2 MD010478 / MD / NIMHD NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG017253 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R25 CA057711 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States