Background: In the Armed Forces, knowledge about the causes of deaths is required in order to develop prevention strategies. This study presents the main characteristics of causes of deaths among male active-duty personnel in the French Armed Forces during the 2006-10 period and compares them with the general French male population.
Methods: The data are provided by military public health surveillance. Comparisons of the specific mortality rates (MR) were performed using a Poisson regression. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated to compare mortality with the general French male population.
Results: There were 1455 deaths among male active-duty personnel during the study period [MR: 100.9 per 100,000 person-years (PY); 95% confidence interval 95.7-106.1]. The 17-24 age group was characterized by violent deaths: transport accident (MR: 45.9 per 100,000 PY) and suicide (18.8 per 100 000 PY). Overall SMRs show significantly lower MR compared with the French national MR with the exception of SMR for transport accident and suicide in the 17-24 age group.
Conclusions: There is a significantly lower deficit of mortality compared with the French male general population, reflecting a strong healthy worker effect. However, health promotion programmes should continue to put emphasis on transport accident especially among the 17-24 age group.