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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2018 Nov - Dec;50(10):993-1004. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2018.06.011. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Performance Nutrition Dining Facility Intervention Improves Special Operations Soldiers' Diet Quality and Meal Satisfaction.

Author information

1
Military Nutrition Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA. Electronic address: reneecole136@gmail.com.
2
Nutritional Services Division, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.
3
Dietary Intake and Nutrition Counseling, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
4
Military Nutrition Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the impact of the Special Operations Forces Human Performance Program dining facility (DFAC) intervention on patron diet quality and meal satisfaction.

DESIGN:

Nonrandomized, controlled time series study using digital food photography and surveys pre-post intervention (0, 4, 8, and 12 months).

SETTING:

Two Fort Bragg, NC military installation DFACs.

PARTICIPANTS:

Volunteers (n = 688 total; n = 573 complete dataset) were US Army active duty soldiers.

INTERVENTION:

The DFAC intervention included food choice architecture, new performance-optimizing food recipes to increase nutrient density, revised menus to offer more performance foods daily, and nutrition labeling to influence food choice.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Daily DFAC nutrient intake and Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2010 scores.

ANALYSIS:

Descriptive and ANOVA statistical analyses were performed between control and intervention groups and from baseline to 4, 8, and 12 months postintervention (α = .05; 80% power).

RESULTS:

The intervention resulted in a higher posttest HEI score (60.1 ± 8.8 points; +3.4%; P = .005) and DFAC satisfaction compared with control (49.0 ± 10.4 points; P > .05). Improved intervention HEI scores were attributed to changes in citrus and melon fruit (+46%), red and orange vegetables (+35%), whole grains (+181%), legumes (65%), yogurt (+45%), oils (-26%), and solid fat (-18%) consumption (all P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

These data illustrate that the Special Operations Forces Human Performance Program military DFAC nutrition intervention was feasible to implement and was associated with diet quality improvements. Access to high-quality ingredients and recipes may improve soldier meal quality and acceptance in other settings and warrants further investigation.

KEYWORDS:

Healthy Eating Index; diet quality; dining facility; military

PMID:
30172700
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2018.06.011

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