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Eating Well On-The-Go: How Agencies Can Provide Education and Support to Improve Officer Nutrition and Well-Being

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2014
2 pages
This publication recommends ways in which law enforcement agencies can train and educate their officers in the importance and features of healthy nutrition that supports the physical and mental demands of their duties.
Information is provided on how nutrition impacts work performance. Not eating enough or eating the wrong foods can result in low blood sugar levels, whose symptoms can include dizziness, impaired vision, or fatigue. Eating a high-calorie, high-fat meal increases one's risk for a heart attack for 2 hours after the meal. An obese officer is more likely to be injured in an auto accident and incur more severe injuries than an officer with a healthy weight. A lack of fluids, particularly water, can produce tiredness or dizziness. Thus, the physical and mental effects of poor nutrition while on the job can undermine an officer's ability to make sound decisions and meet the physical demands of a crisis. Since good nutrition is important for officer safety and performance, it should have priority in the training, education, and leadership examples of an agency. This means it should be incorporated in the recruit academy training curriculum. Officers must be required to learn and commit to the nutrition requirements that facilitate effective police performance. Suggestions for what to include in academy nutrition education and training are offered. Nutrition requirements must be continually reinforced through annual or semi-annual in-service nutrition education, weekly information on nutrition recommendations, reminders during roll call, and through regular communication channels.

Date Published: October 1, 2014