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Nutritional Fitness and Resilience

Nutritional Fitness and Resilience: A Review of Relevant Constructs, Measures, and Links to Well-Being

Karen R. Flórez
Regina A. Shih
Margret T. Martin
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 86
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  • Book Info
    Nutritional Fitness and Resilience
    Book Description:

    This report is one of a series designed to support Air Force leaders in promoting resilience among its Airmen, civilian employees, and Air Force families. It examines the relationship between nutritional fitness and resilience, using key constructs found in the scientific literature that address address self-regulation, positive affect, perceived control, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and optimism.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-9006-5
    Subjects: Population Studies, Health Sciences, Management & Organizational Behavior, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Summary
    (pp. vii-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. 1. The Context of This Report
    (pp. 1-4)

    This report is one of a series designed to support Air Force leaders in promoting resilience among Airmen, its civilian employees, and Air Force family members. The research sponsors requested that RAND assess the current resilience-related constructs and measures in the scientific literature and report any evidence of initiatives that promote resilience across a number of domains. We did not limit our search to research conducted in military settings or with military personnel, as Air Force leaders sought the potential opportunity to apply the results of these studies to a population that had not yet been addressed (i.e., Airmen). Further,...

  8. 2. Background to This Report
    (pp. 5-6)

    This report focuses on nutritional fitness. Nutritional fitness for Airmen can be defined as having the nutrients needed to facilitate not only good health and readiness but also resilience against the physical and mental stressors associated with military service. Nutritional fitness contributes to resilience by helping service members maintain a healthy weight, protecting them against diet-related diseases that affect physical and cognitive function, and reducing their vulnerability to stress and depression. Achieving nutritional fitness can be challenging, however, and a lack of it—in the form of obesity—is the leading medical reason that applicants fail to qualify for military...

  9. 3. Nutritional Fitness Constructs, Measures, and Links to Health Outcomes
    (pp. 7-24)

    Measuring food intake at the individual level is crucial in determining the associations between diet and resilience. In this chapter, we begin our examination of nutritional fitness constructs by focusing on measures of food intake and their links to health outcomes. We describe existing measures of food intake and discuss the strengths and challenges associated with those methods. Then we discuss what is known about health outcomes associated with food intake.

    Food intake can be estimatedat the time of eating or from past eating patterns(Van Staveren and Ocké, 2006):

    Real-time measures. The most widely used real-time methods are...

  10. 4. Motivators and Barriers: Psychosocial and Environmental Variables
    (pp. 25-32)

    Nutrition research has documented the difficulties individuals face when attempting to initiate or maintain a healthful diet. Knowing dietary guidelines and their associations with health outcomes has proven to be an insufficient motivator for diet-related behavior changes (Brug, 2008). Indeed, research documents a complex set of psychosocial factors that may inhibit individuals from acting on their intention of adopting healthy eating habits successfully and consistently. The scientific research discusses many constructs that can affect people’s ability to eat a healthy diet (e.g., barriers, intentions, knowledge, motivation, religiosity, norms), but the constructs of self-efficacy, social support, and attitudes seem to be...

  11. 5. Interventions That Promote Nutritional Fitness
    (pp. 33-38)

    In this chapter, we discuss interventions designed to promote nutritional fitness. These include environment-level interventions, context-specific interventions, and individual-level interventions.

    Most diet/nutrition interventions are lifestyle programs designed to modify specific behaviors, such as fruit and vegetable intake. These interventions address a range of target populations, such as school children and employees; however, some programs focus on specific populations, such as faith-based groups (e.g., Body and Soul; Eat for Life; North Carolina Black Churches United for Better Health Project), medically underserved populations (e.g., Little by Little, Parents As Teachers, High 5 Low Fat Program), low-literate individuals (e.g., the Stanford Nutrition Action...

  12. 6. Conclusions
    (pp. 39-40)

    This report has focused on key domains within the broader construct of nutritional fitness, including individual food intake, food choices and perceived barriers, and the food environment. Perhaps not surprisingly, appropriate intake of essential nutrients is crucial to overall health and well-being, and some specific foodstuffs are consistently associated with positive health outcomes, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood. Limited caloric intake is also important. It is also crucial to consume fewer foods containing sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2010). Air Force programs should...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 41-70)