Poster Topical Area: Sports Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 238
Objective: To determine whether diet quality is associated with successful selection in an Army Special Operations Forces selection course characterized by arduous cognitive and physical demands, including timed land navigation, loaded road marching, and team events.
Methods: U.S. Army Soldiers (N=782) attended the course between May 2015 and March 2017. Usual dietary intake over the previous year was assessed with a 127-item 2014 Block food frequency questionnaire. The probability and likelihood of selection were determined according to Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) total and individual component scores (≥ / < median) with chi-square and logistic regression. HEI-2010 is calculated from maximum and minimum score standards that assess conformance with federal dietary guidelines. Models were adjusted for age, enlisted/officer status, education, body mass index (BMI), weekly duration of strength training and aerobic exercise, Olympic/power lifting, high intensity training, cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco use, and energy intake. Associations between demographic and lifestyle characteristics and HEI-2010 total scores were determined with analysis of variance.
Results: After adjustment, Soldiers with HEI-2010 scores ≥ the median were more likely to be selected than those with scores < the median for total score (OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.03 – 1.98), whole fruit (OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.07 – 2.11), total protein (OR = 2.24, 95% CI = 1.27 – 3.96), seafood and plant protein (OR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.05 – 2.05), and empty calories, indicating fewer empty calories consumed (OR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.01 – 1.99). HEI-2010 total scores were higher among older Soldiers (≥ 25 years), those with more education (≥ some college), higher BMI (≥ 25), those engaged in longer duration of strength training exercise (≥ 400 min/week) and Olympic/power lifting, and non-smokers (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Conforming to federal guidelines, consuming adequate protein and whole fruit, and limiting calories from solid fats, alcohol, and added sugars, may aid in optimizing dietary patterns associated with selection. The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Army or the DoD. Supported by MRMC.
Henry Jackson Foundation, In support of US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine
West Point, New York