Performance Triad and Health of the Force 2016

LAST UPDATED: October 06, 2017
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Survey methods

The Global Assessment Tool (GAT) is a survey tool designed to assess an individual’s behaviors with regard to these triad components and other key elements which can impact emotional and spiritual well-being. In 2015, approximately 300,000 AC Soldiers from the U.S. based installations evaluated in this report completed the survey, amounting to nearly 80% of the AC Soldier population at these installations. Response rates were slightly higher, 90%, for the reviewed installations located outside the continental United States (OCONUS).

GAT-derived SAN (sleep, activity, nutrition) summary scores for each installation were compiled with measures of the percentage of Soldiers at each installation meeting SAN targets specified by OTSG to generate an overall installation P3 index (IPI). The IPI reflects the overall deviation from the Army average for the collective measures. This assessment revealed that the vast majority of Army installations were similar with respect to overall P3 measures with only one installation reporting significantly higher levels of positive P3 behaviors.

Average SAN scores were similar by gender, with the largest point differential being a 3-point spread for physical activity (84 for women compared to 81 for men). More notable differences were observed in terms of the percentage meeting OTSG targets with approximately 62% of women meeting the targeted score of 85 or more as compared to 53% of men when it comes to activity. The percentage meeting activity targets decreased with increasing age. Men generally reported more positive sleep and nutrition behaviors, but the differences between men and women were negligible.

Installation P3 Index (IPI) summary

Each installation was assessed against the average for the U.S.-based Army installations evaluated to determine standard deviations, or Z-scores, compared to the Army average. These scores were used to assess potentially significant differences. Overall, the installations were relatively comparable, with only one installation (Presidio of Monterey) reporting statistically significant positive P3 healthy behaviors. Two additional installations reported elevated positive behaviors (Fort Rucker and USAG West Point); however, these deviations weren’t statistically significant.

SLEEP

"It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity."

— Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies


Overall, installations had an average sleep score of 68 out of 100 based on Soldier responses to GAT questions assessing sleep duration, sleep satisfaction, and being bothered by poor sleep.

2105 Army Sleep Results

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Optimal sleep is critical to mission success. In training and on the battlefield, inadequate sleep impairs essential abilities such as reaction times, the ability to detect and engage the enemy, and squad tactic coordination. When interviewed about the connections between sleep and mission readiness, Soldiers and military leaders consistently associated lack of sleep with accidents, poor morale, and impaired judgment. However, despite mission degradation resulting from sleepiness, a culture of suboptimal sleep and a perception that lack of sleep is “the Army way” prevails in the force.

The P3 curriculum and its targets focus on improving performance while addressing root causes of poor sleep and fatigue. The curriculum incorporates goals from the clinical practice guidelines for insomnia established by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and leverages technology to allow Soldiers and leaders to effectively monitor and improve sleep. P3 also provides tactical sleep techniques and specific information on how to use caffeine/energy drinks to improve performance while minimizing their impact on sleep. In conjunction with these strategies, the P3 team is striving to empower leaders to make policy and environmental changes to enable their Soldiers to obtain adequate sleep each night in garrison and plan for sleep while on field missions.

ACTIVITY

"Nearly 1 in 4 young adults are too heavy to serve in our military."

“Long-term military readiness is at risk unless a large-scale change in physical activity and nutrition takes place in America.”

— Mission: Readiness Military Leaders for Kids
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Overall, installations had an average activity score of 81 out of 100 based on Soldier responses to GAT questions assessing exercise frequency, exercise intensity, resistance training and BMI.

2105 Army Activity Results

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Physical fitness and activity are crucial to ensuring Soldiers are able to perform the duties and responsibilities of their jobs. Practicing principles of safe and effective training enables Soldiers to maintain physical readiness and health. Soldiers and leaders across the Army agree that activity and fitness are essential to being a strong warfighter. Although Soldiers are generally more physically active than civilians, they are frequently at risk for overtraining and resulting injuries. Profiles and Army Physical Fitness Test failures are both associated with medical non-deployability. Despite obtaining some activity through structured unit physical readiness training, many Soldiers are sedentary over the course of the day, which can lead to adverse health outcomes over time.

Based on the unique physical requirements and demands of today’s Soldier athletes, P3 provides information and strategies to ensure our force obtains optimal, balanced activity. The curriculum and its targets inform Soldiers and leaders on safe running practices, proper resistance training techniques, overtraining prevention, and methods to increase daily physical activity. By leveraging principles of functional fitness, balanced training approaches, targeted athletic development, and movement throughout the day, P3 promotes the best available evidence to support Soldiers in meeting the physical and mental demands of their missions.

NUTRITION

“Fueling your body with healthy choices consistently during the day provides you with the right nutrients and plenty of energy. This helps you have a better outlook, reduces mood swings, and keeps you focused!”

— The Performance Triad Challenge Guide

2105 Army Nutrition Results

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Eating or fueling for performance enables Soldier training, increases energy and endurance, shortens recovery time between activities, improves focus and concentration, and helps leaders and Soldiers look and feel better. Although Soldiers and leaders frequently understand the connections between nutrition and mission readiness, they also cite numerous barriers to obtaining optimal nutrition. These barriers include lack of access to healthy foods, time constraints arising from working through meals or working late, monetary constraints, and low motivation to make healthy choices. Specifically, when interviewed on what affects their nutrition, many Soldiers cited military dining facility hours, cost, location, and limited healthy options as barriers to making the healthy choice. Others indicated the prevalence of unhealthy on-base fast food options detracted from their ability and motivation to make optimal food selections.

Through the P3 campaign, the OTSG System for Health is working hard to facilitate changes within the nutrition environment on Army installations via policy changes and facility improvements. The intent of making the healthy, performance-oriented choice the easy choice is to reduce identified barriers to optimal nutrition. In conjunction with modifying the Army nutrition environment, P3 nutrition curriculum teaches Soldiers about nutrients needed to complete mission tasks, describes refueling techniques, and details strategies for creating a nutrition plan. Specific areas of focus include hydration, nutrient timing, dietary supplements, field nutrition, and healthy weight maintenance.

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