The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is a newly developed test assessing U.S. Army soldiers' combat readiness. The Healthy Eating Index 2015 (HEI-2015) is a questionnaire established by the USDA that quantifies overall diet quality. The HEI-2015 uses a scale of 0 to 100 with higher scores aligning more with the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The HEI-2015 is comprised of 13 subcategories: Total Fruits [TF], Whole Fruits [WF], Total Vegetables [TV], Greens and Beans [GB], Whole Grains [WG], Dairy [D], Total Protein foods [TP], Seafood and Plant Proteins [SPP], Fatty Acids [FA], Refined Grains [RG], Sodium [S], Added Sugars [AS], and Saturated Fats [SF]. Purpose: The purpose of this cross-sectional study is to determine if diet quality can predict performance outcomes of the ACFT in ROTC cadets. Methods: ROTC cadets (31 males, 21 females; aged 20.5 ± 2.2 years) completed the 6-event ACFT (3-repetition maximum trap-bar deadlift [MDL], standing power toss [SPT], hand-release pushups [HRPU], sprint-drag-carry [SDC], plank [PLK], and 2-mile run [2MR]). The cadets were invited into the laboratory to complete the HEI-2015. The ability of the HEI-2015 to predict ACFT performance was determined with a linear regression model. Significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: HEI-2015 total score was significantly and positively correlated to ACFT total score, showing (r = .319, p = .014). Subcategories of the HEI-2015 were positively and significantly correlated with ACFT total scores, GB (r = .326, p = .012), SPP (r = .349, p = .007), and FA (r = .263, p = .044). HEI-2015 total score significantly explained 10% (p = .014) of the variance on the ACFT total scores with a beta coefficient 3.121. Conclusion: HEI-2015 total score, GB, SPP, and FA are all predictors of the ACFT total score. This data shows that overall diet quality is an important factor in determining a soldier’s combat readiness. For every 1.2 point increase in HEI-2015 total score, it is predicted that ACFT total score will increase by 3.1 points.
Calhoun, Grant; Harman, Sofia; Grams, Annika C.; Larson, Ruth; Price, Payton; Thomasson, Sara; Wabakken, Kaitlyn; Brock, Katelynn; Zeigler, Zachary; and Acevedo, Anthony
"How does diet quality predict the performance of ROTC cadets on the ACFT,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 14:
2, Article 23.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol14/iss2/23