. "5 Commanders' Perceptions and Attitudes About Their Responsibilities for Feeding Soldiers." Not Eating Enough: Overcoming Underconsumption of Military Operational Rations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1995.
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Not Eating Enough: Overcoming Underconsumption of Military Operational Rations
Of the 288 members of the 1992 Army War College class, 132 Army officers had been in battalion level command sometime during the period from January 1990 to July 1991. These commanders were asked to take the survey. The survey group, which included three female officers, represented 63 percent of the active Army officers in the class. Because students were being asked to complete several other surveys, the scope of this survey was purposely limited.
To encourage maximum participation and minimize the time required to complete the survey, only 32 questions were constructed. The 32 questions were divided into 3 parts. In the first part of the survey, commanders were asked questions about their decisions on water discipline and ration selection during field training. They were asked whether they recommended electrolyte replacement beverages and protein supplements. Ten nutrition knowledge questions were included in the survey. These questions were taken from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine's (USARIEM) August 1988 survey of Army basic trainees at Fort Jackson, South Carolina (Rose et al., 1989). Commanders were also asked to rank order their sources of nutrition education. Finally, the officers were offered the opportunity to make written comments following the survey. A Likert-type scale, with statements to which respondents indicated their agreement on a 5-point continuum, was used for response to 12 of the 32 questions. True or false (or undecided) were the response choices for the personal nutrition knowledge questions. The survey questions were analyzed using the statistical software program SPSS/PC+. A copy of the survey is included at the end of this chapter.
Eighty-six percent (113) of the 132 commanders completed the survey. Fifty percent of respondents had commanded combat arms units; 25 percent commanded combat support units, and 25 percent commanded combat service support units. Thirty percent of the respondents had been deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
In response to the nutrition knowledge questions, only 43 percent of respondents could correctly identify that fat has twice as many calories as carbohydrates. Seventy-nine percent did not know that carbohydrate loading