America’s Health Rankings® Health of Women Who Have Served Report establishes a national baseline portrait and distinctive data resource on the overall health of women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Findings confirm key differences in health outcomes and their determinants between women who have and have not served.
Women who have served generally report having a more positive outlook on health than those who have not served, including being more physically active and reporting better general health status. They also experience better access to health insurance coverage, primary care, and preventive services. These advantages are especially pronounced for many minority women who have served. However, despite these positive experiences, women who have served report higher rates of chronic disease, mental illness, and insufficient sleep than their counterparts who have not served. Many of these mental health and chronic disease rates are also higher than those of men who have served as was revealed by the 2016 Health of Those Who Have Served Report.
America’s Health Rankings® Health of Women Who Have Served Report fills an important research gap identified through previous studies by comparing women who have served to their civilian counterparts on a broad set of health measures drawn from large population-based surveys over time. It provides important insight and identifies potential priorities to inform national, state, and local dialogue and action to improve the overall health and well-being of women who have served. At the same time, this report underscores the need for ongoing research and data to develop a better understanding of the factors and circumstances which contribute to the distinct health experiences and challenges faced by women who have served. Indeed, continued monitoring is crucial to informing future priorities, policies, and interventions to better care for the very women who have served to protect this country.