Mortality, length of life, and physical examination attendance in participants of the Air Force Health Study

Norma S. Ketchum, Joel E. Michalek, Marian Pavuk

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3 Scopus citations


Begun in 1982, the Air Force Health Study (AFHS) has assessed the mortality of veterans of Operation Ranch Hand, the unit responsible for aerially spraying herbicides in Vietnam. A comparison group of other Air Force veterans involved with aircraft missions in Southeast Asia during the same period, but not involved with spraying herbicides, was included in the study. Among 18,082 veterans, this report examined whether attendance at AFHS physical examinations from 1982 to 1999 played a role in mortality experience and potential lengthening of life relative to veterans who did not attend. The years of potential life lost for 1,173 veterans who died before age 65 was calculated. No statistically significant difference in risk of death was found from all causes, cancer, or circulatory disease between attendees and nonattendees. No evidence was found to suggest that attending physical examinations decreased mortality or substantially lengthened life in AFHS participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-57
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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