Reviewing Dietary Assessment Methods in Military & Veteran Populations

Research Paper Title

Dietary Assessment Methods in Military and Veteran Populations: A Scoping Review.


Optimal dietary intake is important for the health and physical performance of military personnel.

For military veterans, the complex nature of transition into civilian life and sub-optimal dietary intake is a leading contributor to the increased burden of disease.

A scoping review was undertaken to determine what is known about the assessment and reporting of dietary intakes within both military and veteran populations. In addition, this review determines if studies reporting on the dietary intake of military personnel or veterans include comparisons with dietary guidelines.


Six databases were searched to identify papers published from the database inception to April 2019.

Observational and intervention studies were searched to identify if they assessed and reported whole dietary intake data, reported data exclusively for a military or veteran population, and included only healthy populations.

A total of 89 studies were included.


The majority of studies used one dietary assessment method (n = 76, 85%) with fewer using multiple methods (n = 13, 15%).

The most frequent methodology used was food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) (n = 40, 45%) followed by 24-hour recalls (n = 8, 9%) and food records (n = 8, 9%).

The main dietary outcomes reported were macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol (n = 66, 74%) with total energy intake reported in n = 59 (66%).

Fifty four (61%) studies reported a comparison with country-specific dietary guidelines and 14 (16%) reported a comparison with the country-specific military guidelines.


In conclusion, dietary intake in military settings is most commonly assessed via FFQs and 24-hour recalls.

Dietary intake reporting is mainly focused around intakes of energy and macronutrients.

Most studies compare against dietary guidelines, however, comparison to specific military dietary guidelines is minimal.


Collins, R.A., Baker, B., Coyl,e D.H., Rollo,M.E. & Burrows, T.L. (2020) Dietary Assessment Methods in Military and Veteran Populations: A Scoping Review. Nutrients. 12(3), pp.769. doi: 10.3390/nu12030769.


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