Nutrition Throughout Life

The guidelines discussed in this chapter can be applied to everyone throughout their lifetime. Identify when your energy needs are changing (i.e., changes in physical activity levels, pregnancy, breast feeding) and adjust your diet appropriately to maintain your health and fitness. Each individual should eat the appropriate number of servings from each food group based on their EER (refer to Chapter 1 and Table 3-2). Seek the help of a Registered Dietitian if you have any concerns about your diet or the diet of a family member. Even if you do not cook your meals or if you eat in the galley, you can make healthy food choices (see Appendix A). When eating in the galley, ask for the Healthy Navy Options menu items (available in the larger galleys and ships). Make high-fat foods the exception rather than the rule in your diet.

In this chapter you will learn:

♦ The definition of physical fitness.

♦ The benefits of being physically fit and its relation to military readiness.

♦ The Physical Fitness Pyramid.

♦ Fuel used during exercise.

♦ Exercise Sequence.

♦ Training and Detraining.

In the military, physical fitness is emphasized because of its role in military readiness and force health protection. Many jobs in the Navy require personnel to handle heavy equipment, to adapt quickly to harsh environments, and to work in limited quarters. Training for these situations ensures that you are physically able to perform these tasks repeatedly, without fail, whenever the need arises. In short, this is the rationale for optimizing your physical fitness levels and for performing PRT tests every six months! (See OPNAV6110.1E at http://www.bupers.navy.mil/ services under "New Navy PRT Program" for the PRT standards).

"Fitness, which has been defined as the matching of an individual to his physical and social environment, has two basic goals: health and performance [which lie on a continuum]. Physical fitness requirements in the military consist of a basic level of overall fitness required for health of all individuals and a higher level of fitness that is required for the performance of occupational activities...In addition to this, the military must address the need for ongoing, job-specific performance training." IOM (1998) Physical Fitness Policies and Programs, in Assessing Readiness in Military Women, p. 64.

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