Factors Underlying Food Intake and Underconsumption—The Eating Situation and Social Issues
IN PART V, THE PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL aspects of the eating situation are reviewed. As reported in Chapter 16, the physical situation of the field setting can adversely affect ration intake because of changes in meal timing, frequency, duration, regularity, and predictability. The author suggests improving the economics of the eating situation through beverage and ration supply during deployment; when and how long soldiers eat; ration type that maximizes sensory and hedonic appeal while minimizing preparation; and creating a more ''meal"-like situation. An economic perspective is described as one way to integrate the development, testing, and use of military operational rations.
This is followed by an evaluation of food appropriateness to the eating situation in Chapter 18. Using consumer behavior and food cognitive-context research, the usefulness of appropriateness measures in ration development is highlighted. The person, food item, and eating situation interact with each other; therefore, it is important to consumption to match the ration to the environment for the soldier.
The discussion of chronobiology and biologic rhythms in Chapter 19 focuses on the influence that meal timing has on physiologic functions. For body weight maintenance, meals should be scheduled at the physiologically and logistically most useful times. A series of studies shows that meals scheduled at the conclusion of activity periods may enhance food intake.
In Chapter 20, research on the social facilitation of food intake suggests that food intake is increased by social setting. People eat more in the presence
of others for a variety of reasons, with two of the most important being disinhibition and increased amount of time for the meal. Based on this research, group feeding and modeling are two social factors that can be employed to try to increase soldier intake. Clinical underconsumption (i.e., eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder) is the subject of Chapter 21. The familial, biological, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive aspects of eating disorders are presented for theoretical comparison with soldier underconsumption.
Finally, a proposal for increased ration consumption by the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center (NRDEC) is outlined in Chapter 22. The author reviews strategies for improving consumption and acceptance of military operational rations and their effect using the relevant chapters in this volume. Long-term plans include designing new rations and increasing variety in current rations.