Dietary intake in law enforcement personnel: Occupation is an additional challenge for changing behavior

Kristen MacKenzie, Ka Wing Lee, Charlene Wright, Joseph Dulla, Angela Tsoi, Rob Marc Orr

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Abstract

Background: Law enforcement is a dangerous, stressful, and health-threatening occupation. This study investigated the association between demographic factors including sex, age, and types of law enforcement occupation and described self-reported barriers to healthy and enjoyable diets within a cohort of law enforcement personnel. Methods: This mixed-methods study explored cross-sectional data from the Perceived Barriers to Healthy Eating validated survey. The survey included eight questions obtaining quantitative data and two open ended question obtaining qualitative data. A framework thematic analysis using the theory of planned behavior was undertaken to describe self-reported barriers to a healthy and enjoyable dietary intake. Results: 159 participants (median age = 27 (range 19–60) years; 74% males) were surveyed. In general, demographic factors are not associated with the dietary beliefs and behavior of law enforcement personnel. Self-reported barriers (generated themes) to a healthy and enjoyable diet included individual preferences, social influences, internal drive, capacity to change and occupational influences, which broadly aligned with the theory of planned behavior. Conclusions: Dietary intake in law enforcement personnel is impacted by occupational considerations, including busy schedules, long working hours, inconsistent meal breaks, tiredness, and shift work. The study provides useful information to support dietary interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1336
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2022

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