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Fatty Acid Blood Levels, Vitamin D Status, Physical Performance, Activity, and Resiliency: A Novel Potential Screening Tool for Depressed Mood in Active Duty Soldiers

Barringer ND, Kotwal RS, Lewis MD, Funderburk LK, Elliott TR, Crouse SF, Smith SB, Greenwood M, Kreider RB (2016) Mil Med. 181(9): 1114-20. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00456. 

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Abstract:

This study examined whether blood fatty acid levels, vitamin D status, and/or physical activity are associated with physical fitness scores; a measure of mood, Patient Health Questionnaire-9; and a measure of resiliency, Dispositional Resiliency Scale-15 in active duty Soldiers.
 
100 active duty males at Fort Hood, Texas, underwent a battery of psychometric tests, anthropometric measurements, and fitness tests, and they also provided fasting blood samples for fatty acid and vitamin D analysis. 
 
Pearson bivariate correlation analysis revealed significant correlations among psychometric tests, anthropometric measurements, physical performance, reported physical inactivity (sitting time), and fatty acid and vitamin D blood levels.
 
On the basis of these findings, a regression equation was developed to predict a depressed mood status as determined by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. The equation accurately predicted depressed mood status in 80% of our participants with a sensitivity of 76.9% and a specificity of 80.5%.
 
Results indicate that the use of a regression equation may be helpful in identifying Soldiers at higher risk for mental health issues. Future studies should evaluate the impact of exercise and diet as a means of improving resiliency and reducing depressed mood in Soldiers.

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