Nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of Israeli female combat recruits participating in a nutrition education program

Sarit Herzman-Harari, Naama Constantini, Gideon Mann, Zvi Lencovsky, Aliza H. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the impact of a pilot nutrition intervention program on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of female combat soldiers in basic training serving in the Israeli army and to determine changes in nutrient intake. Seventy recruits participated in the intervention. Anthropometric measurements and food frequency questionnaires were completed at 3 time points: at enlistment, at 2 months, and at 4 months. Additional questionnaires to assess nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors were administered preintervention and postintervention. Baseline results indicated that intakes of calcium, vitamin E, and vitamin D were below recommended levels. After 2 months (8 weeks), suboptimal consumption of many nutrients was observed. At this time point, a nutrition education program was initiated and activities were carried out for the final 2 months of basic training. Following completion of the intervention, a marked improvement in nutrient intake was reported, accompanied by significant changes in attitudes toward healthy eating and increased nutrition knowledge. One-year follow-up evaluation indicated that approximately 20% of participants had made long-term dietary changes. In conclusion, nutrition education increased knowledge, modified attitudes, and led to dietary changes in female recruits. Programs of this type should be considered for implementation in the military.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)517-522
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume178
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

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