Scope of Use and Effectiveness of Dietary Interventions for Improving Health-Related Outcomes in Veterans: A Systematic Review

Rebecca Mellor*, Elise Saunders-Dow, Hannah L. Mayr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Military veterans often have numerous physical and mental health conditions and can face unique challenges to intervention and management. Dietary interventions can improve the outcomes in many health conditions. This study aimed to evaluate the scope of health conditions targeted with dietary interventions and the effectiveness of these interventions for improving health-related outcomes in veterans. A systematic literature review was performed following PRISMA guidelines to identify and evaluate studies related to veterans and dietary interventions. Five electronic databases were searched, identifying 2669 references. Following screening, 35 studies were evaluated, and 18 were related to a US national veteran weight-loss program. The included studies were critically appraised, and the findings were narratively synthesized. Study designs ranged from randomised controlled trials to cohort studies and were predominantly U.S. based. The intervention durations ranged from one to 24 months. The mean subject age ranged from 39.0 to 69.7 years, with often predominantly male participants, and the mean body mass index ranged from 26.4 to 42.9 kg/m2. Most dietary interventions for veterans were implemented in populations with overweight/obesity or chronic disease and involved single dietary interventions or dietary components of holistic lifestyle interventions. The most common primary outcome of interest was weight loss. The success of dietary interventions was generally moderate, and barriers included poor compliance, mental health conditions and large drop-out rates. The findings from this review illustrate the need for further refinement of dietary and lifestyle interventions for the management of veterans with chronic health conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2094
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022
Externally publishedYes

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