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Nutritional Needs in Hot Environments: Applications for Military Personnel in Field Operations
More research is needed to evaluate the impact of adequate mineral intake on physical performance in a hot environment. Such research would allow the development of more specific recommendations concerning circumstances in which mineral supplements or food fortification is indicated. In particular, studies are needed that separate the effects of exercise from the effects of an elevated ambient temperature, and studies that evaluate the effects of higher levels of mineral intake on functional indicators.
Does heat enhance satiety or impair hunger? These questions could be addressed through research that more specifically addresses whether the effect of heat on appetite suppression is expressed in terms of smaller meals-presumptive satiety effects—or less frequent meals—presumptive hunger effects.
In light of animal studies of hypoxia, additional research appears warranted to evaluate whether the decreased human food intake in hot environments serves a protective metabolic effect.
The committee has noted in a number of research projects presented for its review, that there is a decrease in food intake of military personnel under operational conditions regardless of environmental climate. Based on these results it is recommended that a study be conducted to determine why soldiers don't consume adequate amounts of food to maintain body weight under operational conditions, and to evaluate steps that may be taken to achieve adequate ration intake.
The Committee on Military Nutrition Research is pleased to participate with the Division of Nutrition, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, in programs related to the nutrition and health of American military personnel. The CMNR hopes that this information will be useful and helpful to the Department of Defense in developing programs that continue to improve the lifetime health and well-being of service personnel.
Marriott, B.M., and C. Rosemont, eds. 1991 Fluid Replacement and Heat Stress: Proceeding of a Workshop, 2nd printing. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Norman, E.J., and R.M. Gaither 1991 Review of Army Food Related Operations in Hot Desert Environments. Technical Report Natick/TR-91/008. United States Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center. Natick, Mass.