Update on the Efficacy of Military Fluid Intake Guidance.

Research Paper Title

Update: Efficacy of Military Fluid Intake Guidance.

Background

Fluid intake during military training is prescribed based on the interactions among work rates, environmental conditions, and uniform configurations. The efficacy of this guidance has not been empirically assessed in over a decade. To determine the acceptability of the fluid intake guidance, sweat losses were measured in a variety of conditions with modern uniform/body armor configurations and were then compared to prescribed fluid intakes for each condition (workload, environment, clothing).

Methods

Whole body sweat losses of 324 Soldiers and 14 model simulations were measured under a variety of:

  • Work intensities (Watts): easy, moderate, hard;
  • Work durations: 2-25 hours;
  • Environmental conditions: White-Black flag; and
  • Uniform configurations including Army Combat Uniform and body armour.

Whole body sweat losses were then calculated relative to 4 h drinking guidance and in accordance with TB MED 507 recommended work/rest ratios. The differences between the prescribed fluid intake and sweat loss were calculated and expressed as a percent loss or gain of body weight. Values within a threshold of ±2% body water flux (BWF) were deemed an acceptable conservative starting point for performance and health concerns.

Results

Values within ±2% BWF numbered 309/338; 25 of 338 observations exceeded the +2% BWF while 4 of 338 observations exceeded the -2% BWF. When total fluid restriction was simulated, all experienced body weight loss with 151 of 338 observations exceeding the -2% BWF.

Conclusions

When calculated using actual measured sweating rates from the laboratory and model simulations, current fluid intake guidance appears to predict with 91.4% accuracy the volume of fluid required to maintain a proper euhydrated state (±2%) during 4 h of exercise.

Simulations of total fluid restriction support the necessity for fluid intake guidance so that the Warfighter’s performance does not degrade. It is recommended that the current military fluid intake guidance focuses on methods for accurately tracking fluid intakes.

Reference

Luippold, A.J., Charkoudian, N., Kenefick, R.W., Montain, S.J., Lee, J.K.W., Teo, Y.S. & Cheuvront, S.N. (2018) Update: Efficacy of Military Fluid Intake Guidance. Military Medicine. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy066. [Epub ahead of print].

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