Associations of nutrition and body composition with cardiovascular disease risk factors in soldiers during a 6-month deployment
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Finnish Defence Forces, Lappeenranta, Finland (Army Academy)
Finnish Defence Forces, Helsinki, Finland (Training Division of Defence Command)
University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland (Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences)
National Defence University, Helsinki, Finland (Department of Leadership and Military Pedagogy)
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland (Department of Food and Nutrition)
Online publication date: 2020-05-11
Corresponding author
Tarja Nykänen   

Finnish Defence Forces, Army Academy, Lavolankatu 1, 53600 Lappeenranta, Finland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(4):457-66
Objectives: This observational follow-up study investigated the associations of nutrition and body composition with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, including pro-inflammatory biomarkers, in soldiers during a 6-month deployment. Material and Methods: Thirty-five male soldiers were assessed at months 0, 3 and 6, and their parameters, i.e., M±SD, were as follows: age 30.0±8.7 years, height 179±6 cm, and BMI 24.2±2.5 kg/m2. Three-day food diaries were used for monitoring macronutrient intake. Body composition was estimated using bioimpedance. Fasting blood samples for lipids and pro-inflammatory biomarkers were collected, and blood pressure measurements were performed. Results: Carbohydrate intake increased and protein intake decreased at month 3 (p = 0.034, p < 0.001), while body composition remained stable. Systolic blood pressure increased at month 6, while other CVD risk factors remained within the reference values. Fat mass and body fat percentage were associated positively with total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations at all measurement points. A negative association was found between the change in fiber intake vs. the change in total (r = –0.36, p = 0.033) and LDL cholesterol (r = –0.39, p = 0.019). Conclusions: Lower fiber intake and a greater amount of body fat were associated with high total and LDL cholesterol concentrations. Nevertheless, the measured CVD risk factors remained within the reference values, except for the higher systolic blood pressure. A regular screening of body composition and a higher consumption of fiberrich foods may promote cardiometabolic health in soldiers. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(4):457–66
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