Are Civilians Fitter than the U.S. Army Personnel?

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It is a common perception that army personnel across the world are fitter than civilians. While researchers at the University of Pennsylvania also assumed so, there were appalled to be proven wrong. Loryana L Vie, the senior project director at the Positive Psychology Center has collaborated with the U.S. Army to monitor the personnel’s health.

Vie along with her team studied more than 263,000 soldiers between the age of 17 and 64. The idea was to study the heart health of the personnel based on the American Heart Association’s guidelines. As a result, they studied the data available from a routine health check-up of the personnel during 2012. However, the researchers managed to only obtain details of blood pressure, weight, current tobacco use, and diabetes.

On the other hand, the researchers got hold of health data of civilians participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2011-2012. Under each data criterion, the researchers classified the results into ideal, intermediate or poor. This is basis the guidelines of the American Heart Association.

Abnormal Blood Pressure of Army Personnel Worries Researchers 

While studying the data, researchers found that the U.S. Army soldiers had high blood pressure. And, this would worry both, the researchers and the civilians. The study shows that only 30% soldiers had ideal pressure while 55% civilians were normal. What’s concerning is that the U.S. Army does not recruit applicants who have abnormal blood pressure.

Having said this, researchers state that this could worry the U.S. as tax payers might end-up shelling more money for soldiers’ healthcare. On the other hand, it is also important for the U.S. Army to introspect on the reasons for abnormal blood pressure among soldiers. Researchers hint at overweight, and deployment conditions for abnormal blood pressure.

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