Confined space, limited exercise equipment, rotating shift work and reduced sleep may affect cardiometabolic health in submariners. To test this hypothesis, 53 male U.S. Submariners (20–39 years) were studied before and after a 3-month routine submarine patrol. Measures included anthropometrics, dietary and physical activity, biomarkers of cardiometabolic health, energy and appetite regulation, and inflammation. Before deployment, 62% of submariners had a body fat % (BF%) ≥ 25% (obesity), and of this group, 30% met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. In obese volunteers, insulin, the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), leptin, the leptin/adiponectin ratio, and pro-inflammatory chemokines growth-related oncogene and macrophage-derived chemokine were significantly higher compared to non-obese submariners. Following the patrol, a significant mean reduction in body mass (5%) and fat-mass (11%) occurred in the obese group as a result of reduced energy intake (~2000 kJ) during the patrol; and, independent of group, modest improvements in serum lipids and a mean reduction in interferon γ-induced protein 10 and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 were observed. Since 43% of the submariners remained obese, and 18% continued to meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome following the patrol, the magnitude of weight loss was insufficient to completely abolish metabolic dysfunction. Submergence up to 3-months, however, does not appear to be the cause of obesity, which is similar to that of the general population.
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