This panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Deuster, illustrates the thinking of selected military leaders on the approach that must be taken to ensure the relationship between nutrition and performance. Insights and challenges these leaders face are provided, with consideration of the complex issues relating to sufficient scientific evidence, timing for Department of Defense policy, and the unique needs of service members.

The discussion resulted in several recommendations.
1. First, more nutritionists in uniform should be placed in/on the battlefield on every base and camp in Afghanistan and Iraq.
2. Second, nutritionists/dietitians need to be working in the preventive arena, using the health promotion model and marketing to help shift behavior.
3. Third, contract dietitians should be hired to work primarily in tertiary care. Dietitians must forward-deploy to implement preventive medicine and human performance optimization as it relates to nutrition and dietary supplementation. Unfortunately, almost all military dietitians are constrained within the medical model and we think of them just as "hospital providers."
4. Finally, line units need to decide that dietitians are a requisite part of their force structure. Putting many dieticians in line units will allow our active duty members to believe diet and nutrition are important for performance.

PMID: 25373105