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New report focuses on psychological resilience within the U.S. military

HPRC Fitness Arena: Total Force Fitness
The RAND Corporation has released a report identifying factors that promote mental resilience within the U.S. military.

A new DoD-sponsored report titled Promoting Psychological Resilience in the U.S. Military has been released by RAND Corporation and is available in full-text print and downloadable pdf formats. The RAND National Defense Research Institute (RAND NDRI) conducted a focused literature review to identify individual, family, unit and community-level factors for promoting psychological resilience. The study also included a review of resilience programs.

The full report can be downloaded from the RAND website.

Do you really need to take a multivitamin?

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Do you really need to take a multivitamin? How can you be sure that you’re taking the right one, or if you even need to take one at all?

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported on multivitamin use, the issue of what one actually needs to take, and understanding what is on the labels. The article asks the basic question: Do you really need a multivitamin? And what exactly should a person be looking for in a multivitmin?

According to the article, there is no generic, one-size-fits-all multivitamin that is capable of meeting every nutritional need, and factors such as age, gender, diet and health determine what vitamins a person should take, if any. Adding to the confusion is inconsistent vitamin labeling for consumers as well as the manufacturers who tailor product brands for different population segments.


Outside Magazine plunges into the work at USARIEM

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Outside Magazine’s Christopher Solomon, took the plunge, so to speak, into the work conducted at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM).

Research at USARIEM (U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine) was featured in a article by writer Christopher Solomon titled "G.I. Joe and the House of Pain" in a special issue of Outside Magazine about human performance. The author spent time in the research lab's heat chamber, altitude chamber, and cold-water pool—conditions that simulate the extreme environmental conditions found in theater. He interviewed research physiologists there about USARIEM's work over the past 50 years as well as its current studies, all of which address the crucial issues of Warfighter health and performance in extreme environments.

Durbin raises concerns over melatonin baked goods

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has asked the FDA to clarify its regulatory position on dietary supplements and food additives on the back of widespread concerns about the marketing of melatonin-containing baked goods.

Food Safety News is reporting that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has asked the FDA to clarify its regulatory position on dietary supplements and food additives on the back of widespread concerns about the marketing of melatonin-containing baked goods.  A recent HPRC Performance News  post notes that there have been questions raised on commercially available products such as Lazy Cakes and Lulla Pies that are marketed as "relaxation" brownies - which contain high doses of the sleep aid melatonin.


These products are being sold as dietary supplements to help people relax and fall asleep, rather than foods containing additives.  Senator Durbin contends that these foods are being sold as dietary supplements but are really foods containing a dietary ingredient additive, which would require FDA approval. He has asked U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to see if she has the authority  "to oversee the safety of foods containing dietary supplement additives."

Help or hindrance? Market for melatonin-laced brownie snacks persists

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes and Lulla Pies are the names of melatonin-laced snacks that have been in the news lately as an anti-dote to the trend of energy/caffeinated powered beverages and products. But the research on whether they are safe, or that they actually work, has not been established.

Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes, and Lulla Pies are the names of melatonin-laced snacks that have been in the news lately as an antidote to the trend of energy/caffeinated powered beverages and products. But there is no research available on whether they are safe, or whether they actually work.

The New York Times reported on the sale of these products and others that are being sold online and in convenience stores and smoke shops. Some claim melatonin has a relaxing effect and can be used to alleviate jet lag or simply help induce sleep. But the Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved melatonin as a food additive or confirmed its safety when used as a sleep aid.

The HPRC began encountering stories of melatonin-laced brownie products back in March 2011, and we posted a Healthy Tip then that focused on the emergence of Lazy Cakes.

HPRC at the DoD/USDA Family Resilience Conference

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Representatives of the HPRC, DCoE, and USUHS presented a workshop on a new model for military family fitness at a conference in April.

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (Resilience and Prevention Directorate), Uniformed Services University, and the Human Performance Resource Center ran a three-hour workshop introducing the Military Family Fitness Model at the DoD/USDA Family Resilience Conference last week (April 26-29) in Chicago, IL. The workshop focused on describing the newly developed process-oriented, multi-level model for total military family fitness, including how service members and their families, leaders, policy makers, and program managers can achieve and maintain family fitness (following the Total Force Fitness paradigm). Key aspects of the model were also described, such as family stressors, strengths, resources, and outcomes.

Deep breathing, guided imagery, mindfulness, and cognitive restructuring were taught as practical skills that can help control family members’ stress. Guidelines were also given for family communication and problem-solving skills designed to enhance family functioning and resilience. A military case study was presented to allow participants to practice the application of the Total Family Fitness model.

To see a copy of the workshop that was presented, click here; for more complete information, please read the abstract of the presentation.

DCoE's (Defense Centers of Excellence) report [PDF] on the Family Conference can be read here.

To learn more integrative mind-body strategies, visit HPRC's Mind Tactics domain and the Defense Centers of Excellence newly published paper on Mind-Body Skills for Regulating the Autonomic Nervous System.

To learn more family strengthening strategies, visit HPRC's Family & Relationships domain.

Presenters of the model were COL Stephen Bowles, Ph.D. (USUHS), Colanda Cato, Ph.D. (DCoE), Monique Moore, Ph.D. (DCoE), and Liz Davenport Pollock, MS, LGMFT (HPRC).

Acknowledgements: Force Health Protection and Readiness, Psychological Health Strategic Operation; Military Community & Family Policy; Air Force Air Education and Training Command; Military Family Research Institute; and Defense Centers of Excellence.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

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Military spouses are adaptable, committed, courageous, the backbone of the military family and the key to the success of the Warfighter's military performance.

The military celebrates the Friday before Mother’s Day every year as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. In 1984, former president Ronald Reagan initiated this event to acknowledge and honor the commitment, courage, and sacrifice of the wives and husbands of our nation’s service members. Military spouses are the backbone of their families and are key to the success of the Warfighter’s military performance. President Barack Obama reflected in his 2010 Military Spouse Appreciation Day speech, “At the heart of our Armed Forces, service members’ spouses keep our military families on track.”

The Military Family Resource Center reports these statistics about military spouses and/or families:

  • Almost 60% the active-duty force has family responsibilities of a spouse and/or children.
  • 93% of the spouses of active-duty members are female.
  • 54% of the spouses are 30 years of age or younger; 72% are under age 36.
  • 56% of active-duty spouses are employed. 14% of active-duty spouses are Armed Forces members themselves.
  • 43% of active-duty members have children; the average number of children for active-duty members who have children is two.
  • Among active-duty members who have dependents, the average number of dependents is almost 2.5.
  • More than 50% of the children of active-duty members are seven years of age or younger.

(Source: 2008 Demographics: Profile of the Military Community, published by the Military Family Resource Center.)

For more information about President Obama’s speech, see:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-proclamation-military-spouse-appreciation-day

Navy fitness through NOFFS

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This Navy fitness program focuses on basic and performance nutrition alongside physical training exercises designed to target operational tasks and reduce injuries.

The Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS) provides the Navy with "best in class" physical fitness and nutrition performance information for both Sailors and Navy health and fitness professionals. NOFFS instructs individuals on how to train effectively and safely and how to make healthy nutrition choices in both shore-based and operational environments.

Based on worldwide mission requirements, which require the Navy to intensity its operational tempo, it’s imperative for Sailors to be physically fit. Physical fitness is an essential component of operational readiness and the ability to meet deployment schedules. Sailor resiliency and durability are the primary goals of the development and distribution of NOFFS.

The purpose of NOFFS is to provide a complete physical training program that will eliminate the guesswork for:

  • The individual Sailor who is participating in his/her personal physical training program
  • The Navy health and fitness professional who is interested in obtaining a ready-made comprehensive and biomechanically balanced individual or group physical training program.

    The goals of NOFFS are to:

    • Improve operational performance
    • Provide basic and performance nutrition guidance.
    • Decrease the incidence and severity of musculoskeletal injuries associated with physical training.

      NOFFS provides Sailors with an evidence-based performance tool that will address injury prevention by physically training the movement patterns of operational tasks. Rather than focusing specifically on the physical readiness test (PRT), NOFFS emphasizes how to specifically improve the functional performance of a Sailor during daily operations. This includes lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, aerobic/anaerobic demands, and body movement skills requiring balance, agility, and coordination. The focus of the project is to optimize operational physical performance and fueling for Sailors while preserving Navy combat power.

      For more information about NOFFS and other Navy Fitness initiatives, visit www.navyfitness.org.

      Lazy Cakes: Brownies – or something else?

      HPRC Fitness Arena:
      With added melatonin to help you relax, this is no typical brownie.

      Lazy Cakes Relaxation Brownies claim to “have relaxation built into every bite.” One brownie (half is the recommended serving size) contains 3 mg of melatonin, a hormone made by the body but also available as a supplement that is often used to treat sleep disorders and jet lag. Selling these brownies as a dietary supplement allows the manufacturer to avoid FDA regulation for foods and beverages. The label warns consumers not to drive or operate heavy machinery and to consult your physician if you are taking medication or are pregnant or nursing; it also says the product is recommended for adults only. Buyers beware…this is no typical brownie.

      Army revamps its yearly physical fitness tests

      HPRC Fitness Arena:
      The U.S. Army retools the yearly physical fitness tests with more practical exercises geared to really getting soldiers in fighting shape.

      The U.S. Army has retooled its yearly physical fitness test with more practical exercises geared to finding out if soldiers are in fighting shape. Along with other changes to the current test, troops will be required to run an obstacle course while dressed in full combat armor and dragging 180 pounds‹the equivalent of a human body.

      The new Army Physical and Combat Readiness Test is being introduced at eight installations, and if all goes well, will be rolled out Army-wide on October 1st.

      Click below to access the article.

      Army swaps sit-ups for combat-ready drills in new PT tests

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