Examining the Relationship Between Healthy Eating Score and ACFT Performance in Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Cadets Original Research

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Aleksandra Mantanona
Joetta Khan
Julianna Jayne
Andrew Gallucci
LesLee Funderburk
William Conkright
Patrick Clifford
Rodney Sturdivant
Jeffrey Forsse
Jeffery L. Heileson

Keywords

Physical performance, Military Readiness, Diet

Abstract

Introduction: Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets must maintain military readiness by meeting physical fitness standards and passing the newly implemented Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). Prior research established a positive relationship between nutrition and performance, however the relationship between diet and ACFT performance has not been studied. This study aimed to examine the relationship between diet quality and ACFT performance in cadets. 


Methods:  ROTC cadets (n=52) completed the Healthy Eating Score-7 (HES-7) and an ACFT. HES-7 is a proxy for diet quality and scored between 0 and 35. The ACFT is a measure of performance with a maximum score of 600. The association of HES-7 score with total ACFT score was evaluated using multiple linear regression analysis. Models adjusted for body mass and physical activity as potential confounders. Statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05.


Results: The average scores for ACFT and HES-7 were 485.5±71.5 and 19.7±5.2 points, respectively. There was no significant association between HES-7 and ACFT (r=-0.213, p=0.088). The final regression model included HES, physical activity time, and body mass, and explained 10.4% of the variance in the ACFT score.


Conclusions: Favorable dietary habits assessed by HES-7 were not associated with physical performance.

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