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Pennington Biomedical Awarded $16 Million for Military Readiness

Released: Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Nutrition and Fitness Computer Application To Be Used by U.S. Military Worldwide

BATON ROUGE, LA - Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded two new military research and health promotion grants of nearly $16 million to support optimal nutrition, fitness, combat readiness, Warfighter performance and resilience.

The funding was awarded to Pennington Biomedical by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) in collaboration with the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) and the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) .  The two grants, called CROWN 2 for $7.3 million and WeightMeasurements and Standards for Soldiers 2 for $8.2 million, were announced at a press conference held at Pennington Biomedical on Wednesday morning with representatives of the United States and Louisiana military, research scientists, and LSU Administration leaders.

According to William Cefalu, M.D., Pennington Biomedical's Executive Director, "Pennington Biomedical is now celebrating its 25th year, and for all of these years our center has been extremely honored to have played a part in contributing to military readiness by having our scientists collaborate on important research projects related to health, nutrition and performance of our solders with grants funded by the Department of Defense.   We've worked together to develop and deliver "real world" programs and products that America's Warfighters use daily, whether deployed or at home."

In opening remarks today, LSU President F. King Alexander, Ph.D. said, "Pennington Biomedical offers an excellent example of how its mission of better health outcomes for our State translates easily to fill our national defense needs.

Collaborative Research Optimizes Warrior Nutrition 2 (CROWN 2)

CROWN 2, known as the Collaborative Research to Optimize Warfighter Nutrition 2 project, is a $7.3million grant aimed at developing novel nutritional strategies to promoteWarfighter health and resilience, improve combat readiness, and sustain their performance. The research will provide the scientific evidence basis for developing new, efficient and cost-effective combat rations, food products, dining facility menus, and health promotion policies and programs that ensure a fit military, ready for deployment, and resilient to the stressors of duty.  "Crown 2, which is actually a series of related projects, provides scientists from PBRC and USARIEM the opportunity to continue an extraordinarily productive research partnership that, for over 25 years, has contributed to defining dietary requirements for optimizing Warfighter health and performance across the full spectrum of harsh operational conditions in which DoD personnel conduct missions. This partnership enables the unique scientific capabilities and skillsets of PBRC and USARIEM to be collectively leveraged to undertake technologically complex military relevant nutrition research that would be beyond the capabilities of either institution by itself," said Andrew Young (Chief, Military Nutrition Division USARIEM).

CROWN 2 is an extension of an earlier grant program. It begins in 2014 and will be conducted through 2017under the direction of Jennifer Rood, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director for Cores and Resources , with a staff of 20 research associates.

The research aims to improve Warfighter nutrition,by examining Warfighter energy balance, stress effects, inflammation and nutritional status under extreme environmental conditions. According to Dr. Rood,  "Our findings on nutrition and metabolism will address the unique needs of the U.S. military and they also will provide us with the opportunity to broadly impact the nutritional health of Americans."

Weight Measurements and Standards for Soldiers 2 Grant

The Weights, Measurements, and Standards for Soldiers 2 grant of $8.2 million grant is a six year study, 2010-2016, which aims to ensure the health, readiness, performance, and resilience of US Warfighters, via novel nutrition and fitness technology.  Because the study demanded a randomized component, the study began with a portion of soldiers in 2010. As part of the project, the Army Healthy Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle Training Headquarters (Army H.E.A.L.T.H.) program was developed by Pennington Biomedical . The program incorporates cutting edge interactive technology and is portable (Internet and Smartphone) so soldiers and their family members can use it to manage nutrition, fitness, and weight wherever they are in the world.

Pennington Biomedical -Developed Cutting Edge Technology

The Army H.E.A.L.T.H. Internet and Smartphone application will be introduced for immediate use for soldiers, retirees, and their family members, across the country. The H.E.A.L.T.H. initiative was developed and tested as part of a series of DoD-funded grants in active duty and reserves personnel to Pennington Biomedical. "The H.E.A.L.T.H. program is based on sound science, developed during more than a decade of research and involving different soldier populations, including active-duty, reserve, and guard personnel." said Andrew Young (Chief, Military Nutrition Division USARIEM). More recently, the Louisiana National Guard have been part of a study to further test the nutrition and fitness technology.

"It has been a great opportunity for the Louisiana National Guard to partner with Pennington Biomedical Research Center on this program. Any tool that increases the National Guard's ability to perform our mission is important, and this partnership has done just that by improving our Soldiers' readiness," said Major General Glenn Curtis, Adjutant General for the Louisiana National Guard.

"H.E.A.L.T.H. is being implemented Army wide for soldiers, retirees, and their family members as part of the U.S. Military Surgeon General Patricia Horoho's Performance Triad, a three-prong approach-sleep, activity, and nutrition-to improve the health and well-being of our military men and women." said Dr. Charles Peterson, Chief Scientist, TATRC. This initiative has the potential to impact millions of U.S. soldiers, their family members, and retirees.

The Weight Measurements and Standards for Soldiers 2 grant and  the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. program are  under the direction of Principal Investigator Tiffany Stewart, Ph.D., Director of the Behavior Technology Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical, with a team of 15 research associates.  According to Stewart, "The mission of the H.E.A.L.T.H. program is to translate evidenced- based concepts into a nutrition and fitness tool that Soldiers can use to not only improve Warfighter health and performance, but the overall health well-being of their family members. "

All of the research grant studies are directed by the DoD's United States U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command (USAMRMC), which includes the Telemedicine and Advanced Research Center (TATRC), the U. S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), and the Military Operational Medicine Program (MOMRP).

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Itis a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at the Center includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities.  The Center's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 234-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.