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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.