The aim of the present study is to compare the health status of Armed Forces and civilian infants, accounting fur social class. Tn a prospective cohort study, demographic data were obtained from mothers of liveborn infants from 436 civilian and 162 Armed Forces families. Birth details were taken from hospital maternity and child health systems. A six month follow-up was completed by health visitors. Standard social class classification, based on occupation, was used for civilian families and a new equivalent scheme for military personnel. No significant differences were found between civilian and military infants for birthweight. prematurity and failure to thrive. Military infants had significantly more hospital admissions (P = 0.015) and accident and emergency attendances (P = 0.002) mainly accounted for by the 'manual' social classes of the Armed Forces. Infant health status of civilian and military babies did not differ overall. Increased uptake of hospital services by military families can be explained by local circumstances
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