A Healthy Eating Identity is Associated with Healthier Food Choice Behaviors Among U.S. Army Soldiers.
Sommaire de l'article
Promoting healthy eating among Soldiers is a priority to the Army due to the link between nutrition and performance. The Army typically uses nutrition education to encourage Soldiers to make healthier food choices with low emphasis on other psychosocial determinants of food choice behaviors.
Materials and Methods
Drill Sergeant Candidates (n = 575) completed surveys assessing nutrition knowledge, eating identity type, and food choice behaviors including fruit and vegetable intake, skipping meals, and eating out frequency. In multiple linear regression models using full-information maximum likelihood estimation while controlling for race/ethnicity, education, and marital status, we examined relationships between nutrition knowledge, a healthy eating identity, and Soldiers' food choice behaviors. The study was approved by the Department of Defense and University of South Carolina's Institutional Review Boards.
A healthy eating identity was positively associated with greater fruit and vegetable consumption (p < 0.05), and negatively associated with skipping meals and eating out frequency (p < 0.05). Nutrition knowledge was negatively associated with skipping meals (p < 0.05).
Findings suggest that fostering a healthy eating identity may be more effective for promoting healthy food choice behaviors than nutrition education alone. Determining if various points in a Soldier's career could be leveraged to influence a healthy eating identity and behaviors could be an important strategy to improve compliance with health promotion programs.