During Memorial Day and 4th of July celebrations, many businesses proudly fly the American flag and bring out the red, white, and blue bunting to honor both those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country and those who are currently serving in U.S. Military.
But, year-round, you won’t find a more patriotic place than LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. Since 1988, Pennington Biomedical has supported the U.S. Military and has become the No. 1 provider of nutrition science for the Department of Defense (DOD).
Pennington Biomedical has conducted more than 130 studies aimed at maximizing the performance of active-duty soldiers and the health of military women, men and their families at home.
Pennington Biomedical researchers have studied troops in California, Colorado, Massachusetts and South Carolina as well as Norway, Israel and Kenya to evaluate heat stress, dehydration, mountain sickness, and nutrient imbalances in battlefield conditions.
Their research helped develop the First Strike Bar, an energy bar that is now widely used in military combat operations.
In July 2017, the DOD awarded Pennington Biomedical $6.7 million to conduct the Collaborative Research to Optimize Warfighter Nutrition (CROWN) III project. The goal is to ensure a healthy, fit military that is ready for deployment and resilient to the stressors of duty.
“The CROWN III research award is recognition of the scientific excellence that exists at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the significant contributions that our partnership has provided to warfighters year after year, and the importance of the research that will be performed during execution of CROWN III,” says Scott Montain, Ph.D., chief of the Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. “We are excited to continue working with the Pennington Biomedical scientific team.”
As part of this project, Pennington Biomedical researcher Jennifer Rood, Ph.D., completed the Optimizing Performance for Soldiers (OPS) study. This groundbreaking research seeks to improve the health, performance and recovery of U.S. soldiers on the battlefield. Specifically, the study explored how maintaining normal testosterone levels can preserve endurance during physically demanding, low-calorie missions.
Rood also has conducted studies that evaluated how military training affects men and women differently.
For the past 15 years, Pennington Biomedical also has been a leader in behavioral technology research for the Army. Tiffany Stewart, Ph.D., pioneered the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. (Healthy Eating Activity Lifestyle Training Headquarters) and Army H.E.A.L.T.H. Intensive programs.
Using cutting-edge technology, these website and smartphone apps incorporate comprehensive and individualized tools for nutrition, fitness, sleep, and resilience. The goal is to help soldiers stay fit at home and prepared for combat during deployment.
To date, the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. program has been used by over 15,000 men and women on active duty in the Army, its reserves and the National Guard. The programs are currently available to soldiers and families throughout the Army.
“At Pennington Biomedical, we are looking at the health of the whole soldier,” says Stewart, a psychologist who leads several of the DOD research projects and holds the Dudley & Beverly Coates Endowed Professorship. “We want our men and women in uniform to be ready for whatever they may face during their service, and that means being physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.”
Click here for more information on Pennington Biomedical’s research support to the U.S. Military.