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Not Eating Enough: Overcoming Underconsumption of Military Operational Rations
while it is being served and keep perishable foods fresh. In addition, cooks are again moving forward in the field, and each brigade service area will have a brigade foodservice warrant officer to coordinate the food plans with the demands of the field situation.
Commanders' perceptions and attitudes about field feeding are the subject of Chapter 5. Survey results from the Army War College show the varying levels of nutrition knowledge and education among commanders. Many report that the training scenario dictates eating decisions and that their nutrition knowledge is limited. The survey highlights how the relationship between nutrition and performance is not well understood among military officers.
The section continues by explaining the military operational ration system and its continuing development and improvement in Chapters 6 and 7. From the historical perspective of developing and testing rations, the author of Chapter 6 concludes that the Military Recommended Dietary Allowances (MRDAs) are the appropriate criteria for nutritional adequacy of intake in the field. Continued ration evaluation will indicate if nutrition criteria are met. Chapter 7 delineates the numerous constraints to ration development and describes the five military operational rations (Meal, Ready-to-Eat [MRE]; A, B, and T Rations; and Unitized Group Ration [UGR]) in detail. The authors conclude that a self-heating group meal ration system will be an important component of any future field feeding system.
In the final two chapters, data from ration studies conducted in the field are summarized. Using field tests conducted by the Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Chapter 8 shows that, in general, the lower energy intakes of the field do not meet the higher energy requirements, resulting in variable weight loss during military operations. Chapter 9 reviews the research data on improvements to the MRE and T Ration in terms of ration intake and its acceptability to soldiers. The author closes by observing that, in general, a change in at least 15 percent of a ration's items is enough to produce an increase in energy intake and an improvement in the perception of food quality.