Sodexo has partnered with the British Nutrition Foundation to launch a new Military Advisory Group for Nutrition and Wellbeing.
Sodexo and the British Nutrition Foundation will hold regular sessions over the coming year bringing together academics, military stakeholders, and nutritional science experts to explore how nutritional standards for the military can be better integrated into the lived experience. Initially focusing on a review of current literature to understand some of the most relevant challenges within the military this group will collaborate on longer-term strategies like education, marketing effectiveness, and thought leadership to support a programme of sustained development.
The first Advisory Group meeting was at Colchester Garrison on 28 November with experts and academics from Surrey University, Manchester Metropolitan University, and UK Institute of Sports joining a range of Sodexo and local military stakeholders, as well as senior British nutrition scientists.
In this inaugural session, the group explored some of most pressing the health concerns faced by the military. Areas covered included the importance of a balanced diet that provides the right nutrients to best support health and wellbeing areas such as immunity, gut health, stress, sleep and cognitive function, as well as those which can help contribute to service personnel sustain long periods of physical activity and prevent illness and injuries.
The group delved into what could be improved to help military personnel achieve a healthy, balanced diet and whether the supplementation of specific nutrients such as vitamin D should be considered to support musculoskeletal health, in line with the UK government recommendation.
The Sodexo team from Colchester Garrison then shared with the group some of the nutritional initiatives planned on-site, such as an enhanced packed lunch trial, and the design of a number of healthier takeaway options to help improve food choices outside of core hours.
The Military Advisory Group for Nutrition and Wellbeing aims to meet three times a year to explore the latest insights supported by a strong body of scientific evidence to ensure services are futureproofed.
Mark Baker, COO Defence, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We’ve worked with the British Armed Forces and military forces across the globe for the past 50 years and every step of that journey has been about how we have collaborated to adjust and improve our services to ensure they meet the evolving physical and mental needs of soldiers and deliver greater operational capability.
“By partnering with the British Nutrition Foundation and other nutritional experts, we’re looking to further improve the health and wellbeing experience of soldiers, sailors and aviators not only at our partner sites, but in the longer-term hopefully for the wider military community.”
Sarah Stanner, Science Director, British Nutrition Foundation added: “A balanced, nutritious diet is important, as we know Armed Forces have considerable physical and cognitive challenges, and that good nutrition is important to support performance. We’re delighted to be partnering with Sodexo and other valued experts from the nutrition and military fields, to discuss how we can together make a difference by driving positive change and educate stakeholders about the value of nutrition for the health and wellbeing of military personnel.”
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