Preliminary development of a tactical athlete nutrition score
Tactical athletes are at high risk for numerous conditions that are susceptible to nutritional intake. However, nutrition risk assessments in tactical athletes are not routinely implemented. The purpose of this paper was to describe preliminary development of the Tactical Athlete Nutrition Score (TANS). A cross-sectional study was conducted in a convenience sample of career firefighters (N = 150, all males) in southern California. Participants completed a 3-Day Food Record and other health-related questionnaires, and anthropometric measurements. The TANS was developed through best available evidence, observations, and an expert judgment exercise. The TANS include five variables: total energy, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, total sugar, and fruit and vegetable consumption. Risk levels were quantified according to data from these categories and analyzed accordingly. The TANS appeared to effectively differentiate individuals based on nutrition risk, with separation observed among the TANS risk levels – low risk (n = 7), moderate risk (n = 77), high risk (n = 66). One-way analysis of variance revealed significant difference among the risk categories for the five nutrition variables and TANS total (p < 0.001). The observed risk categories are plausible based on knowledge of this population. This study suggests the TANS is feasible to proceed to full-scale validation research trials. If validity is established, TANS will contribute to assessing nutrition risk level and improving nutrition interventions among tactical athletes.