Project Type

URC Presentation

College or School


Class Year



Nutrition: Dietetics

Faculty Research Advisor

Kevin Pietro

Second Faculty Research Advisor

Maggie Dylewski Begis

Third Faculty Research Advisor

Jesse Stabile Morrell


Objective: Significant research has been conducted on the health of the US Army, but little has been done on ROTC programs despite difficulty with retention and low enrollment. The purpose of this study was to identify potential differences in nutrient intakes between UNH Army ROTC cadets with low and normal bone densities.

Methods: A total of 31 cadets enrolled in the UNH Army ROTC program were included in this study. Cadets underwent several nutrition and health screening tests including use of the McCue Contact Bone Ultrasound Analyzer to assess bone health and a 24-hour recall to assess diet. Cadets were classified into bone health categories of low or normal based on their z-score using WHO criteria. T-tests were conducted to compare differences in calcium, vitamin D, and calorie intake between groups.

Results: There were no statistically significant differences in calcium (p=0.1317), vitamin D (p=0.0715), or calorie intake (p=0.7007) between groups. In total, 8 cadets (25%) had low bone density (BMD). 23 cadets (75%) had normal bone density. In the low BMD group, 63% (n=5) met the RDA for calcium intake compared to 70% (n=16) in the normal BMD group. None of the cadets with low BMD met the vitamin D RDA compared to 17% (n=4) of cadets with normal BMD.

Conclusion: While the results show no statistical significance, low intakes of vitamin D in both bone density groups suggest clinical significance. Additional research on the impact of low vitamin D intake on bone health in ROTC populations should be conducted.