Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Mortality from coronary heart disease in the British army compared with the civil population.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 08 August 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:405
  1. P Lynch,
  2. B J Oelman


    A study was carried out in which mortality from coronary heart disease during 1973-7 in men aged under 55 years in the British army was compared with that in men in the civilian population. An inverse relation was found between mortality from coronary heart disease and rank in the army similar to that seen among the civilian social classes, but soldiers aged under 40 years had a significantly higher mortality than their civilian counterparts irrespective of the civilians' social class. Correspondingly, officers had a significantly lower mortality, which suggests that strenuous exercise and other exigencies of military life per se, with the possible exception of cigarette consumption, are not to blame. Possibly the extremes of risk in the army are due mainly to factors associated with the identification of subgroups of high and low risk within the social classes and to the higher prevalence of cigarette smoking among soldiers.