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Effects of Modified Foodservice Practices in Military Dining Facilities on Ad Libitum Nutritional Intake of US Army Soldiers

Published:February 16, 2013DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2013.01.005

      Abstract

      Background

      Modifying foodservice practices in military dining facilities could influence ad libitum nutritional intake patterns of soldiers.

      Objective

      We aimed to determine how changes in foodservice operations consistent with 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans affected soldiers' ad libitum nutritional intake in military dining facilities (DFACs).

      Design

      Ten DFACs participated, and the intervention was implemented in five DFACs in an independently sampled, partial crossover design. Nutrient intake of diners was assessed during a test meal using digital photography, and customer satisfaction with foodservice was assessed via surveys at baseline (n=602), and again at 6 months (n=519) and 12 months (n=458) after the intervention was implemented.

      Participants

      Volunteers were US Army active duty soldiers recruited from among diners at 10 DFACs on Fort Bragg, NC.

      Main outcome measures

      Primary outcomes were intakes of energy and total fat, and percent energy from fat and saturated fat. Differences between diners' intakes in control and intervention DFACs were assessed using independent samples t tests.

      Results

      At 6 months after implementing the intervention, diners at intervention DFACs had significantly lower lunchtime intakes of energy (945±338 kcal vs 1,061±380 kcal), total fat (38±19 g vs 47±25 g), percent energy from fat (35%±10% vs 39%±11%) and saturated fat (4.7%±1.7% vs 5.6%±2.3%), discretionary fat (30±18 g vs 39±24 g), and refined grains (2.3±1.7 oz equivalents vs 2.8±2.4 oz equivalents) compared with diners at control DFACs. Further, diners at intervention DFACs rated customer satisfaction higher than diners at control DFACs.

      Conclusions

      These findings suggest that modest changes in military DFAC serving practices to promote healthy eating and food selection can facilitate positive changes in soldiers' nutritional intake.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      A. P. Crombie is a research dietitian, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA

      Biography

      L. K. Funderburk is a research dietitian, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

      Biography

      T. J. Smith is a research dietitian, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

      Biography

      S. M. McGraw is a research dietitian, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

      Biography

      L. A. Walker is a research physiologist, Military Performance Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

      Biography

      L. M. Margolis is a research dietitian, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

      Biography

      H. L. McClung is a research dietitian, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

      Biography

      A. J. Young is division chief, Military Nutrition Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.

      Biography

      C. M. Champagne is a professor and chief, nutritional epidemiology/dietary assessment and counseling, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA.

      Biography

      H. R. Allen is with computing services, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA.