Young men and women enter the military services with a 7- to 14-wk period of initial entry training that may be followed by additional specialty training. These individuals come from all over the nation, with enormously varied backgrounds and preparation, selected based on motivation to enter the military, general health, and meeting minimum levels of fitness. The concept is that for any motivated individual, physical fitness can be trained. One of the consequences of our selection and training procedures is an increased risk of stress fracture. This is an unacceptable training health impact that affects the health and performance of many recruits.
This supplement reports our current efforts to understand and to eliminate stress fracture. Stress fracture represents a well-defined and solvable problem that can be parsed into testable hypotheses made possible by the collaborative participation of a large extramural research component that brings additional expertise, capabilities, and innovative ideas to this challenge. Strong collaboration between the US and the Israeli Defense Forces also provides complementary research to test interventions and to advance the science. Many of these recent efforts, highlighted at the Shoresh and Biomedical Meeting held in Israel in October 2006, are presented within this supplement and were made possible by multiple years of congressional funds.
I am particularly encouraged by the use of state-of-the-art science methods to provide strong evidence-based solutions. The way we train, equip, feed, and treat young men and women in the military can prevent stress fracture today and appears likely to provide benefits to bone health and prevent disease later in life. I want to see these efforts continue with strong emphasis in wellness and prevention models of care. It is important for the Department of Defense to institutionalize the knowledge derived from this evidence-based research program so that we can provide the best possible health protection for the young men and women who serve in our military.©2008The American College of Sports Medicine