Comparison of lifestyle interventions in an active duty population

Comparison of lifestyle interventions in an active duty population


Name: Nicole Armitage

Rank: Col

Presenter/Poster: Presentation and Poster

Year: 2019


Background: Active duty personnel are expected to achieve and maintain certain fitness standards and failure to do so could impact career progression.  However, many struggle in maintaining healthy lifestyles which could lead to failure of fitness standards, decreased overall functioning and increased risk for chronic disease.  Various lifestyle interventions have been offered to active duty populations but few studies exist that evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions in this population.

Purpose: To examine and compare the effectiveness of three lifestyle intervention programs in an active duty population. 

Methods: 122 active duty members of the U.S. Air Force were enrolled into the study and randomly assigned to one of the three intervention groups: the Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) program, the Better Body Better Life (BBBL) program and the Fitness Improvement Program (FIP).  Primary outcome measures were: weight, abdominal circumference, minutes engaged in physical activity, lipid and HbA1c levels, and self-perception of function and well-being as measured by the RAND SF-36 questionnaire.  Data were collected at 3 time points: baseline, 3 months and 6 months.  Changes in measurements from baseline to 3 and 6 months were analyzed.

Results: 83 participants completed the study with 23 in the BBBL group, 30 in the FIP group and 30 in the GLB group. No statistically significant differences in baseline demographics and measures were observed. The GLB participants had significant decreases in weight (-3.12 pounds, p=.01) and abdominal circumference (-0.90 inches; p=.01). There were no significant changes in weight or abdominal circumference from baseline in the FIP or BBBL groups. No significant changes were observed in HbA1c or lipids in any of the groups.  

Discussion:  This study provides evidence on the effectiveness of 3 lifestyle intervention programs in an active duty population. This evidence can be used by USAF leaders and clinicians to determine which interventions may best assist active duty members in maintaining physical readiness.  Additional research is still needed to determine how best to incorporate these lifestyle interventions into mission units. Also more research is needed on the effectiveness in other active duty populations.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this abstract are those of the authors and do not reflect official policy of the United States Air Force or Department of Defense.  The voluntary, fully informed consent of the subjects used in this research was obtained as required by 32 CFR 219 and DODI3216.02_AFI40-402, Protection of Human Subjects and Adherence to Ethical Standards in Air Force Supported Research.  

Acknowledgements: This study was funded by a grant from the TriService Nursing Research Program and approved by the David Grant Medical Center IRB as protocol # FDG20150017.