Does Mental Health Status Differ by Physical Activity in Young Adult Male Veterans and Non-Veterans?




Mott, Jeffrey
Garrett, Madi
Hartos, Jessica
Leveling, Kelsey
Luckemeyer, Teegan
Moore, Meagan


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Purpose: Studies have shown mental health is related to physical activity, but none focus on the relationship among veterans or in young-adult males. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess relations between mental health and physical activity in young-adult male veterans and non-veterans. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used data from the 2017 BRFSS for male veterans and non-veterans ages 18-44 Alaska (n=404), Hawaii (n=1086), Montana (n=723), Virginia (n=1091), and Wyoming (n=538). Ordered logistic regression analyses were conducted by veteran status to assess the relationship between mental health status and physical activity after controlling for health-related, demographic, and socioeconomic factors. Results: Across states, most participants were non-veterans (82-87%), two-thirds reported a high number of good mental-health days in the past 30 days (62-66%), and half reported being active or highly active (53-56%). After controlling for all other model variables, mental health status was not related to physical activity, but was related to tobacco use in veterans, alcohol use and general health status in non-veterans, and activity limitations and health conditions in both. Conclusion: Overall, about one-third of young-adult males may self-report low or moderate mental health and about one-half will be physically inactive or insufficiently active, and because they may be related to substance use and health-related factors, providers should assess and address these issues concurrently in both young-adult male veterans and non-veterans.