Mortality among Brazilian Air Force officers

Vanessa Goncalves, Cedeplar, UFMG

This study aims to (1) estimate the male mortality level for the cohorts of Brazilian Air Force officers who enrolled in the military between years 1947-1960 and were observed until June 2013; (2) compare those estimates with the national male mortality rates and (3) analyze some factors associated with their survival. Those officers are not only selected through a strict process of recruitment which already involves demanding health, physical, cognitive and psychological criteria, but also maintain a rigid training in an extremely controlled environment. Once they are graduated, the institution requires periodic annual health screening and offers complete medical resources, housing support and other important structural aid both for themselves and their families, even after retirement. Hence, this leads to 2 main hypotheses: (1) their overall mortality level is lower than the expected for an average Brazilian male; (2) aspects which are evidenced by some studies to affect adult mortality, such as different socioeconomic backgrounds, are offset by their long-lasting exposure to a privileged health setting. Thus, we address the first hypothesis by estimating their mortality rates through Poisson regression and later comparing them with the corresponding Brazilian life table and with other countries’ that are known to present low mortality levels; and address the second hypothesis through Poisson modeling and survival analysis, with the variable place of birth used as an indicator of their socioeconomic background. Due to the reliability and quality of military data, a better understanding of their mortality level relative to average Brazilian males may not only improve our knowledge of male mortality, but also contribute to further understanding the limits to life expectation and the possible influence of early-life conditions on survival in a developing country scenario.

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Presented in Poster Session 1