U.S. military service and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome: Findings from a cross-sectional analysis of the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, 1979–2013

Academic Article


  • U.S. military service confers both health benefits and risks potentially associated with a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors called metabolic syndrome. However, the association between prior military service and metabolic syndrome has not sufficiently been examined. The purpose of the study was to compare the prevalence of metabolic syndrome by prior military service status. Among 42,370 men (887 with prior military service) examined from 1979 to 2013 at the Cooper Clinic (Dallas, TX), we used a cross-sectional study design to examine the association between military service and metabolic syndrome. First, an unadjusted log binomial regression model was performed by regressing the prevalence of metabolic syndrome on prior service. This was followed by performing Kleinbaum's modeling strategy for assessing confounding. The same methodology was used to explore the association between individual metabolic syndrome risk factors and prior service. Prior military service was not significantly associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (PR = 0.98, 0.89–1.07). None of the variables explored were identified as confounders. Participants with prior military service had lower prevalence of both elevated levels of triglycerides (PR = 0.89, 0.80–0.99) and low levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (PR = 0.78, 0.70–0.88). They had a higher prevalence of elevated resting systolic blood pressure (PR = 1.23, 1.12–1.35). However, none of these associations were significant after adjusting for identified confounders: age; cardiorespiratory fitness; and exam year. Study findings indicate that military service was not independently associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome or its components. Future research is warranted longitudinally assessing the impact of military service on long-term outcomes.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Janak JC; Pérez A; Alamgir H; Orman JA; Cooper SP; Shuval K; DeFina L; Barlow CE; Gabriel KP
  • Start Page

  • 52
  • End Page

  • 58
  • Volume

  • 95