Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


Scott Reaves


Twenty-two young men and women of the 49thMilitary Police Brigade of the California National Guard were participants of our nutrition education and health assessment program. The California National Guard has expressed concern of unsatisfactory physical and nutritional status of their personnel related to a nutrition knowledge deficit as evidenced by preliminary data of insufficient dietary intake and poor nutrition knowledge assessment scores. Our program was designed to implement a nutrition intervention including education and evaluate its effectiveness in reducing Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) risk factors, improving body composition, and providing educational lessons intended to alter lifestyle. Baseline data was quantified and analyzed for statistical significance. Participants reported consuming less than average daily recommended calories and variable macronutrient % of recommended values (%Recommended). DXA analysis revealed high %Body Fat (BF), positively correlated with high values of Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT) in both sexes. Statistical analyses identify HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) and waist circumference as significant predictive variables of VAT, after adjusting for age and sex. Follow-up data from two participants was collected but excluded from statistical analysis due to small sample size. Exploratory (stepwise regression) analysis considering several predictive variables reveals HDL-C is the most significant predictor of VAT (p=0.0011), when waist circumference is excluded from the model, after correcting for age and sex. Waist circumference was excluded with the consideration that waist may be a surrogate measure for VAT. HDL-C seems to be the variable most strongly associated with VAT and HDL-C explains 67% of the variability of VAT (RSquared=0.6741) in the fit model after correcting for age and sex. While the impact of high HDL-C on improved body composition and reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors is well supported by literature, the significance of HDL-C on VAT deposition presented in our findings provokes continued research.