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The relationship between nutrition and behavioural health (BH) outcomes has been established in the literature. However, the relationship between nutrition and anxiety is unclear. Furthermore, the relationship between nutrition and BH outcomes has not been examined in a US Army Soldier population. This study sought to understand the relationship between Soldiers’ nutritional intake and anxiety as well as depression.
This cross-sectional study utilised multivariable logistic regression analyses to examine the relationship between nutritional intake and BH outcomes.
The study utilised data collected in 2018 during a BH epidemiological consultation conducted at one Army installation.
Participants were 7043 US Army Soldiers at one Army installation.
Of the Soldiers completing the survey, 12 % (n 812) screened positive for anxiety and 11 % (n 774) for depression. The adjusted odds of anxiety were significantly higher among Soldiers who reported low fruit intake compared with Soldiers who reported high fruit intake (adjusted OR (AOR) 1·36; 95 % CI 1·04, 1·79). The adjusted odds of depression were higher for Soldiers who reported low fruit intake (AOR 1·35; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·79) and/or low green vegetable intake (AOR 1·37; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·83). Lastly, the adjusted odds of depression were lower for Soldiers who reported low sugary drink intake (AOR 0·62; 95 % CI 0·48, 0·81).
This study is the first to examine the important connection between nutritional intake and anxiety and depression at a US military installation. The information learned from this study has implications for enhancing Soldiers’ nutritional knowledge and BH, ultimately improving Soldiers’ health and medical readiness.
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