Nutrition and Physical Activity During British Army Officer Cadet Training: Part 1—Energy Balance and Energy Availability

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

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Victoria C. EdwardsOccupational Performance Research Group, Institute of Sport, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

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Stephen D. MyersOccupational Performance Research Group, Institute of Sport, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

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Sophie L. WardleArmy Personnel Research Capability, Army Headquarters, Andover, United Kingdom
Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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Andrew G. SiddallOccupational Performance Research Group, Institute of Sport, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

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Steven D. PowellOccupational Performance Research Group, Institute of Sport, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

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Sarah Needham-BeckOccupational Performance Research Group, Institute of Sport, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

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Sarah S. KefyalewMedical Research Council, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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Priya A. SinghMedical Research Council, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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Elise R. OrfordMedical Research Council, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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Michelle C. VenablesMedical Research Council, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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Sarah JacksonArmy Personnel Research Capability, Army Headquarters, Andover, United Kingdom

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Julie P. GreevesArmy Personnel Research Capability, Army Headquarters, Andover, United Kingdom
Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

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Sam D. BlackerOccupational Performance Research Group, Institute of Sport, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

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Military training is characterized by high daily energy expenditures which are difficult to match with energy intake, potentially resulting in negative energy balance (EB) and low energy availability (EA). The aim of this study was to quantify EB and EA during British Army Officer Cadet training. Thirteen (seven women) Officer Cadets (mean ± SD: age 24 ± 3 years) volunteered to participate. EB and EA were estimated from energy intake (weighing of food and food diaries) and energy expenditure (doubly labeled water) measured in three periods of training: 9 days on-camp (CAMP), a 5-day field exercise (FEX), and a 9-day mixture of both CAMP and field-based training (MIX). Variables were compared by condition and gender with a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Negative EB was greatest during FEX (−2,197 ± 455 kcal/day) compared with CAMP (−692 ± 506 kcal/day; p < .001) and MIX (−1,280 ± 309 kcal/day; p < .001). EA was greatest in CAMP (23 ± 10 kcal·kg free-fat mass [FFM]−1·day−1) compared with FEX (1 ± 16 kcal·kg FFM−1·day−1; p = .002) and MIX (10 ± 7 kcal·kg FFM−1·day−1; p = .003), with no apparent difference between FEX and MIX (p = .071). Irrespective of condition, there were no apparent differences between gender in EB (p = .375) or EA (p = .385). These data can be used to inform evidenced-based strategies to manage EA and EB during military training, and enhance the health and performance of military personnel.

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