Predictors of the Relationships Between Nutritional Supplement Use and Weight-Modification Goals of U.S. Army Soldiers

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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Background:

U.S. Army Soldiers must meet body weight and composition standards and consequently may use nutritional supplements (NS) purported to assist in weight modification (WM). Nutritional supplements are dietary supplements (DS) and foods intended to supplement the diet.

Purpose:

This study assessed relationships between NS use, demographic characteristics, health-related behaviors, and WM goals among U.S. Army personnel.

Methods:

Participants (N = 990) self-reported NS use, categorized as energy drinks, sport nutrition products, or DS, and WM goal (lose, gain, or maintain) was ascertained by survey. DS were subcategorized as health, weight-loss, weight-gain, or other DS. Chi-square and logistic regression were used to assess relationships between predictors, NS use, and WM goal. Most respondents (70.3% ± 1.7%) consumed some NS; however, overall NS use was not related to WM goal. Significant relationships were observed between predictors (tobacco use, age, body-mass index, fitness score, general health, and eating habits) and both WM goal and NS use. Respondents attempting to lose or maintain weight were less likely to consume energy drinks and weight-gain DS.

Conclusion:

WM goal is related to multiple health behaviors including tobacco use, physical fitness score, and self-perception of health and eating behavior. NS are consumed in this population regardless of WM goal.

Austin and Farina are with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Belcamp, MD. Carvey and Lieberman are with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.