Israeli Defence Force: Dietary Intake, Stress Fractures & Basic Training

Food, Happy FaceResearch Paper Title

Dietary Intake and Stress Fractures among Elite Male Combat Recruits.

Background

Appropriate and sufficient dietary intake is one of the main requirements for maintaining fitness and health. Inadequate energy intake may have a negative impact on physical performance which may result in injuries among physically active populations. The purpose of this research was to evaluate a possible relationship between dietary intake and stress fracture occurrence among combat recruits during basic training (BT).

Methods

Data was collected from 74 combat recruits (18.2 ± 0.6 yrs) in the Israeli Defense Forces. Data analyses included changes in anthropometric measures, dietary intake, blood iron and calcium levels. Measurements were taken on entry to 4-month BT and at the end of BT. The occurrence of stress reaction injury was followed prospectively during the entire 6-month training period.

Results

Twelve recruits were diagnosed with stress fracture in the tibia or femur (SF group). Sixty two recruits completed BT without stress fractures (NSF). Calcium and vitamin D intakes reported on induction day were lower in the SF group compared to the NSF group-38.9% for calcium (589 ± 92 and 964 ± 373 mg·d-1, respectively, p < 0.001), and-25.1% for vitamin D (117.9 ± 34.3 and 157.4 ± 93.3 IU·d-1, respectively, p < 0.001). During BT calcium and vitamin D intake continued to be at the same low values for the SF group but decreased for the NSF group and no significant differences were found between these two groups.

Conclusions

The development of stress fractures in young recruits during combat BT was associated with dietary deficiency before induction and during BT of mainly vitamin D and calcium. For the purpose of intervention, the fact that the main deficiency is before induction will need special consideration.

Reference

Moran, D.S., Heled, Y., Arbel, Y., Israeli, E., Finestone, A.S., Evans, R.K. & Yanovich, R. (2012) Dietary Intake and Stress Fractures among Elite Male Combat Recruits. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 9(1), pp.6.

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