The primary goals of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) are to plan and assess nutrient intakes to promote health, reduce chronic disease, and prevent toxicity. Firefighters have unique nutrient needs compared to the public due to their job demands. The military provides the only published guidance for tactical athletes’ nutrient needs. The purpose of this study was to determine whether firefighters were meeting the Military Dietary Reference Intakes (MDRI). A cross-sectional study was conducted in a sample of career firefighters (n
= 150, 37.4 ± 8.4 year-old males) employed in Southern California. Data were gathered during baseline assessments from a Federal Emergency Management Agency-funded Firefighter Wellness Initiative. Participants were asked to log their food and beverage consumption over a 72-h period. Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, 95% confidence intervals) were calculated for all participant characteristics and average three-day nutrient intakes. A 95% confidence interval compared their nutrient intake to MDRI to identify differences in nutrient intakes, significance accepted at p
= 0.05. Compared to MDRI reference values, firefighters consumed an inadequate amount of total calories, linolenic and alpha-linolenic fatty acid, fiber, vitamins D, E, and K, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and carbohydrates. Vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium had the greatest shortcomings (95.3%, 94.0%, and 98.7%, respectively, under MRDA). Thus, firefighters are not meeting the established MDRI for several key nutrients required to promote health, improve performance, and reduce chronic disease. Dietitians and health care providers may use the results of this study to help design health promotion programs for this population. Future research should develop a customized reference intake for firefighters.
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