Research Article| Volume 50, ISSUE 10, P993-1004, November 2018

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Performance Nutrition Dining Facility Intervention Improves Special Operations Soldiers’ Diet Quality and Meal Satisfaction

Published:August 29, 2018DOI:



      To assess the impact of the Special Operations Forces Human Performance Program dining facility (DFAC) intervention on patron diet quality and meal satisfaction.


      Nonrandomized, controlled time series study using digital food photography and surveys pre-post intervention (0, 4, 8, and 12 months).


      Two Fort Bragg, NC military installation DFACs.


      Volunteers (n = 688 total; n = 573 complete dataset) were US Army active duty soldiers.


      The DFAC intervention included food choice architecture, new performance-optimizing food recipes to increase nutrient density, revised menus to offer more performance foods daily, and nutrition labeling to influence food choice.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Daily DFAC nutrient intake and Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2010 scores.


      Descriptive and ANOVA statistical analyses were performed between control and intervention groups and from baseline to 4, 8, and 12 months postintervention (α = .05; 80% power).


      The intervention resulted in a higher posttest HEI score (60.1 ± 8.8 points; +3.4%; P = .005) and DFAC satisfaction compared with control (49.0 ± 10.4 points; P > .05). Improved intervention HEI scores were attributed to changes in citrus and melon fruit (+46%), red and orange vegetables (+35%), whole grains (+181%), legumes (65%), yogurt (+45%), oils (–26%), and solid fat (–18%) consumption (all P < .05).

      Conclusions and Implications

      These data illustrate that the Special Operations Forces Human Performance Program military DFAC nutrition intervention was feasible to implement and was associated with diet quality improvements. Access to high-quality ingredients and recipes may improve soldier meal quality and acceptance in other settings and warrants further investigation.

      Key Words

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