Gender Differences in Demographic and Health Characteristics of the Million Veteran Program Cohort

VA Million Veteran Program

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39 Scopus citations


Background: The Department of Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program (MVP) is the largest ongoing cohort program of its kind, with 654,903 enrollees as of June 2018. The objectives of this study were to examine gender differences in the MVP cohort with respect to response and enrollment rates; demographic, health, and health care characteristics; and prevalence of self-reported health conditions. Methods: The MVP Baseline Survey was completed by 415,694 veterans (8% women), providing self-report measures of demographic characteristics, health status, and medical history. Results: Relative to men, women demonstrated a higher positive responder rate (23.0% vs. 16.0%), slightly higher enrollment rate (13.5% vs. 12.9%), and, among enrollees, a lower survey completion rate (59.7% vs. 63.8%). Women were younger, more racially diverse, had higher educational attainment, and were less likely to be married or cohabitating with a partner than men. Women were more likely to report good to excellent health status but poorer physical fitness, and less likely to report lifetime smoking and drinking than men. Compared with men, women veterans showed an increased prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal conditions, migraine headaches, and mental health disorders, as well as a decreased prevalence of gout, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, diabetes, and hearing problems. Conclusions: These results revealed some substantial gender differences in the research participation rates, demographic profile, health characteristics, and prevalence of health conditions for veterans in the MVP cohort. Findings highlight the need for tailoring recruitment efforts to ensure representation of the increasing women veteran population receiving care through the Veterans Health Administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S56-S66
JournalWomen's Health Issues
StatePublished - Jun 25 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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