The Army/National Guard Sport Nutrition Project was designed to address poor health status amongst soldiers of the 49th Military Police Brigade of the California Army National Guard. National Guard soldiers are on reserve duty so their physical health and dietary choices are dependent solely upon personal effort. A nutrition knowledge deficit has been identified in this particular group of 22 soldiers as they lack the basic skills necessary to choose and create balanced meals to maintain optimal physical health. The focus of this intervention was designed to identify any areas of weakness related to nutrition. Analysis of 3-day food records using ESHA Food Processor allowed us to establish baseline data regarding dietary choices while baseline data regarding nutrition knowledge and physical activity was acquired through the use of quizzes and questionnaires. A basic nutrition lecture was delivered by Dr. Scott Reaves and followed up by two hands-on cooking lessons performed by the Nutrition Team. Soldiers were educated on basic nutrition concepts/cooking skills and learned how to prepare two dinner recipes as well as “on-the-go” healthy snacks. We then used the nutrition knowledge quiz again to measure improvement in understanding of basic nutrition concepts taught to the group. Our 22 participants made profound strides of improvement regarding nutrition knowledge, cooking skills/creativity, and self-efficacy. Initial nutrition knowledge assessment and dietary intake indicated that soldiers lacked foundational nutrition knowledge reflecting in poor lifestyle choices. The purpose of this project was to provide an educational experience for the soldiers and motivate them to adopt positive and lasting lifestyle changes. With the gracious funding granted from the Warren J. Baker and Robert D. Koob Endowments, our Nutrition Team was able to make a lasting impact and form invaluable relationships with these 22 men and women who serve and protect our country.
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