Fatty Acid Blood Levels, Vitamin D Status, Physical Performance, Activity, and Resiliency: A Novel Potential Screening Tool for Depressed Mood in Active Duty Soldiers

Mil Med. 2016 Sep;181(9):1114-20. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00456.


This study examined whether blood fatty acid levels, vitamin D status, and/or physical activity are associated with physical fitness scores; a measure of mood, Patient Health Questionnaire-9; and a measure of resiliency, Dispositional Resiliency Scale-15 in active duty Soldiers. 100 active duty males at Fort Hood, Texas, underwent a battery of psychometric tests, anthropometric measurements, and fitness tests, and they also provided fasting blood samples for fatty acid and vitamin D analysis. Pearson bivariate correlation analysis revealed significant correlations among psychometric tests, anthropometric measurements, physical performance, reported physical inactivity (sitting time), and fatty acid and vitamin D blood levels. On the basis of these findings, a regression equation was developed to predict a depressed mood status as determined by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. The equation accurately predicted depressed mood status in 80% of our participants with a sensitivity of 76.9% and a specificity of 80.5%. Results indicate that the use of a regression equation may be helpful in identifying Soldiers at higher risk for mental health issues. Future studies should evaluate the impact of exercise and diet as a means of improving resiliency and reducing depressed mood in Soldiers.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Exercise Test / standards*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / psychology
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas
  • Vitamin D / analysis*
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin D