The U.S. Army Health Risk Appraisal group surveyed 400,000 active duty U.S. Army personnel in the late 1990s to determine whether or not those personnel met the dietary objectives of Healthy People 2000 (HP2000), a national agenda for health promotion and disease prevention. As reported by Yore et al. (2000), Army personnel generally did not meet the HP2000 goals for nutrition even though significant progress had been made during 1991-1998. Although the specific aspects of diet that would be relevant to this Committee on Mineral Requirements for Cognitive and Physical Performance of Military Personnel are lacking, the findings from this survey suggest that there are dietary problems in the military population. The potential for adverse effects of marginal mineral deficiencies among soldiers engaged in training or military operations and the prospect of improving military performance through mineral intakes have spurred the military's interest in this area of nutrition.
Mineral Requirements for Military Personnel provides background information on the current knowledge regarding soldiers' eating behaviors as well as on the physical and mental stress caused by military garrison training or operations. This report also offers facts on the mineral content of rations and its intake by military personnel and addresses the potential effects of nutrient deficiencies due to inadequate intake or higher requirements during military operations. Mineral Requirements for Military Personnel provides information and recommendations on the development and uses of MDRIs and a description of strategies to increase intake of specific minerals, whether via usual foods, fortification, or supplementation. This report features a description of the metabolism and needs for selected minerals by military personnel under garrison training, recommendations on mineral intake levels, and an assessment of mineral level adequacy in operational rations. This report also includes a prioritization of the research needed to answer information gaps and details of study designs required to gain such information.