Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
In an effort to optimize performance, readiness, and health, the Department of Defense (DoD) created a performance nutrition initiative, Go for Green (G4G). Study aims were to determine dining facility staff perspectives on barriers and facilitators to implementation as well as recommendations for program improvement. The purpose of this study was to improve the G4G 2.0 program framework by informing and developing best practices through explication of dining facility (DFAC) staff perspectives.
Methods : Focus groups were conducted in two phases (May 2017 to February 2018) with supervisors and staff of Wolf DFAC, at Fort Carson, Colorado prior to G4G 2.0 implementation. Participants were recruited by purposive sampling and were identified as key stakeholders (n=89) in the G4G initiative. Focus groups were audio recorded to capture all verbal responses, transcribed verbatim and lasted an average of 31 minutes (range 24 to 58 minutes). Transcripts were reviewed via qualitative content analysis using an exploratory, inductive approach to elucidate emergent themes from the data.
DFAC staff perceptions of barriers to G4G implementation included lack of, or ineffective G4G training, inconsistent preparation of food items, G4G fidelity issues, staff perceptions of patron preferences, lack of patron familiarity to new G4G food items and lack of G4G buy-in. Implementation facilitators included training, G4G team site visits, and patron exposure to G4G menu items. Staff suggestions for G4G implementation and program improvement included training on preparation methods, having a flexible implementation timeline, up front provision of all G4G materials, for the G4G team to conduct a needs assessment, and G4G and nutrition education and awareness outside the DFAC.
Conclusions : Results demonstrated that barriers to G4G 2.0 implementation outweighed facilitators, and supported the idea that there may be more viable, less time and work-intensive methods (aside from color-coded food cards) to promote healthier food selection by patrons. Incorporating methods to improve patron selection of healthful items in DFACs could play an instrumental role in improving Service Member health, thereby enhancing readiness to meet mission requirements.
Funding Sources : United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine