Obesity rates in the military impact health, performance, and readiness. Intuitive Eating (IE), a non-diet mindset, may be of value to military service members as this approach has been linked to improvements in health, BMI, and weight stability along with a reduced risk of disordered eating and negative body image.
To assess an IE education tool tailored specifically to military service members.
Study Design, Settings, and Participants
Questions were developed based on the Designing and Assessing Nutrition Education Handouts checklist. Service members (n = 27, 92.5% male, 27.3 ± 5.3 years of age) and dietitians working with service members (n = 10, 80% female, 37.3 ± 7.7 years of age) participated in the survey.
Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis of open-ended responses were performed. Coding was conducted independently by three researchers. Discussion was used to reconcile differences and achieve theme consensus.
Of the closed-ended questions, all service members reported the education tool was engaging, readable, relevant, relatable, and positive while most (96.2%) reported relating to the images and familiarization with the wording. Service members' open-ended responses such as “it motivates me because I make myself feel guilty about the foods I enjoy” and “it helps me to see that I can still enjoy foods that we enjoy in a healthy way” were grouped under the “Change-Talk” theme. All dietitians reported that the information was relevant, and 90% reported the tool was readable, engaging, and could promote IE in service members. Dietitians’ open-ended responses such as "it could plant the seed of understanding" and "this handout is certainly a step in the right direction” were included under the “Planting the Seed” theme.
The overall findings suggest the education tool was perceived as positive, relatable, readable, and able to promote IE. Open-ended response patterns suggest it is a needed first step that may evoke change-talk. Future steps include an evaluation of IE and the tool concerning improving eating patterns and body image among service members.