The Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army’s Research Institute of Environmental Medicine has unveiled a new nutritional snack bar for recruits to consume before bedtime while at basic combat training.
Military health experts have found that recruits often arrive to basic with poor vitamin D status, making their bones more vulnerable to fracture and injury, according to the Military Health System. This subsequently leads to delays in training and increased dropout rates.
Stress fractures can easily occur during basic due to strenuous tasks that the body is unaccustomed to. Wearing boots for long marches, running frequently and carrying heavy loads are just some of the activities that can increase the likelihood of stress fractures, according to James McClung, Ph.D., deputy chief of the Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army’s Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts.
“Up to 18 percent of recruits suffer from these stress fractures,” said McClung. “Women beginning training with poor vitamin D status are particularly vulnerable,” he added.
Roughly 60 percent of those who suffer from stress fractures end up dropping out of the military, while long term injuries can occur later in life for those that push through, according to McClung.
The new nutritional snack bar developed at the Natick facility boosts calcium and vitamin D levels, helping to prevent bone injuries.
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Photo courtesy of U.S. Military Health System