2007 -2009 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
BACKGROUND: Backpacking and other outdoor adventure sports place a great demand on the human body for adequate energy and nutrients. Extended and high endurance trips can take a serious toll, including possible death, on the body if a lack of attention is given to energy balance. People living this lifestyle have metabolic needs that are constantly higher than the average persons. Because there are limitations to the types and amounts of foods that can be carried in the backcountry it is crucial that the proper, nutrient-dense, foods be chosen.
METHODS: There are many factors that can affect energy and nutrient needs that must be considered when choosing the best diet for a trip into the wilderness. In order to determine the effects of nutrition on outdoor trip planning in relation to food selection, surveys were distributed to 55 people from the Lexington area, the University of Kentucky, and a Wilderness First Responder medical course.
RESULTS: The majority of the participants were male with the ratio being 38 males to 17 females. A range of factors including snack choices, meal preparation, and water consumption play a role in the energy balance and metabolic needs of individuals participating in strenuous and demanding backcountry travel.CONCLUSIONS: These findings have important implications for people who frequently travel in the outdoors and who are trying to improve their nutrition quality of life and performance in the backcountry.