Bernadette’s research interests are primarily public health-related (food safety, food choice, behavioural nutrition). She works with consumers, professionals (e.g. teachers) and other stakeholders to investigate food-related attitudes, beliefs and behaviour using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Bernadette also has extensive experience in developing study protocols and in the collection, analysis and reporting of data.
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Objective: Images on food and dietary supplement packaging might lead people to infer (appropriately or inappropriately) certain health benefits of those products. Research on this issue largely involves direct questions, which could (a) elicit inferences that would not be made unprompted, and (b) fail to capture inferences made implicitly. Using a novel memory-based method, in the present research, we explored whether packaging imagery elicits health inferences without prompting, and the extent to which these inferences are made implicitly. Method: In 3 experiments, participants saw fictional product packages accompanied by written claims. Some packages contained an image that implied a health-related function (e.g., a brain), and some contained no image. Participants studied these packages and claims, and subsequently their memories for seen and unseen claims were tested. Results: When a health image was featured on a package, participants often subsequently recognized health claims that— despite being implied by the image—were not truly presented. In Experiment 2, these recognition errors persisted despite an explicit warning against treating the images as informative. In Experiment 3, these findings were replicated in a large consumer sample from 5 European countries, and with a cued-recall test. Conclusion: These findings confirm that images can act as health claims, by leading people to infer health benefits without prompting. These inferences appear often to be implicit, and could therefore be highly pervasive. The data underscore the importance of regulating imagery on product packaging; memory-based methods represent innovative ways to measure how leading (or misleading) specific images can be.
BACKGROUND: The popularity of botanical products is on the rise in Europe, with consumers using them to complement their diets or to maintain health, and products are taken in many different forms (e.g. teas, juices, herbal medicinal products, plant food supplements (PFS)). However there is a scarcity of data on the usage of such products at European level. OBJECTIVE: To provide an overview of the characteristics and usage patterns of PFS consumers in six European countries. DESIGN: Data on PFS usage were collected in a cross-sectional, retrospective survey of PFS consumers using a bespoke frequency of PFS usage questionnaire. SUBJECTS/SETTING: A total sample of 2359 adult PFS consumers from Finland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. DATA ANALYSES: Descriptive analyses were conducted, with all data stratified by gender, age, and country. Absolute frequencies, percentages and 95% confidence intervals are reported. RESULTS: Overall, an estimated 18.8% of screened survey respondents used at least one PFS. Characteristics of PFS consumers included being older, well-educated, never having smoked and self-reporting health status as "good or very good". Across countries, 491 different botanicals were identified in the PFS products used, with Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo), Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose) and Cynara scolymus (Artichoke) being most frequently reported; the most popular dose forms were capsules and pills/tablets. Most consumers used one product and half of all users took single-botanical products. Some results varied across countries. CONCLUSIONS: The PlantLIBRA consumer survey is unique in reporting on usage patterns of PFS consumers in six European countries. The survey highlights the complexity of measuring the intake of such products, particularly at pan-European level. Incorporating measures of the intake of botanicals in national dietary surveys would provide much-needed data for comprehensive risk and benefit assessments at the European level.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Infant feeding decisions made by new parents have significant health implications. The study aimed to investigate: influences on infant feeding decisions; characteristics of mothers reporting reliance on alternative information sources; associations between reliance on different sources and intentions to exclusively breastfeed and introduce complementary foods later; and subsequent breastfeeding and weaning behaviours. SUBJECTS/METHODS: First-time mothers in five European countries (England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Spain) completed questionnaires about the importance of 17 influences on infant feeding choices at birth and 8 months later, during 2007–2008. Use of individual sources and reliance on four categories (family and friends, health professionals, written materials, audio-visual media) were compared between countries. Associations between information sources used and mother characteristics, feeding intentions and behaviours were investigated using appropriate statistical tests. RESULTS: In all, 2071 first-time mothers provided baseline data; 78% at 8 months. Variation exists between countries in the influence of different sources on feeding decisions of first-time mothers. Across all countries, the most important influences at both time points were books, partner and antenatal midwife. Mothers in higher income quintiles and remaining at school beyond age 16 years reported greater reliance on written sources (P<0.0005). Mothers relying most on written sources reported longer exclusive breastfeeding (P=0.002), and a tendency to introduce foods other than milk later (P=0.079) than mothers relying most on personal or professional contacts. CONCLUSION: Further research is required about which dissemination strategies are most effective at improving infant feeding behaviours in varied cultural settings, and for different socio-economic groups.
The use of dietary supplements is increasing globally and this includes the use of plant food supplements (PFS). A variety of factors may be influencing this increased consumption including the increasing number of older people in society, mistrust in conventional medicine and the perception that natural is healthy. Consumer studies in this area are limited, with a focus on dietary supplements in general, and complicated by the use of certain plant food supplements as herbal medicines. Research indicates that higher use of dietary supplements has been associated with being female, being more educated, having a higher income, being white and being older, however the drivers for consumption of supplements are complex, being influenced by both demographic and health-related factors. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of current knowledge about the users and the determinants of usage of plant food supplements. With growing consumption of these products, the need for effective risk-benefit assessment becomes ever more important and an insight into who uses these types of products and why is an important starting point for any future science-based decisions made by policy makers, PFS manufacturers and ultimately by consumers themselves.
Background/Objectives:The objective of this study was to identify the common requirements of users involved in the compilation of food composition data sets with a view to informing the development of a common access system to food composition data, within the European Food Information Resource (EuroFIR) project.Subjects/Methods:A number of examples of food composition data set compilation have been examined using the Use Case approach, namely the compilation of a data set for a national nutrition survey, for a cross-national nutrition study and for a nutritional software programme.Results:The key user requirement identified from the compilation step analysed by the Use Case approach is the increased availability of and access to more detailed food composition data on a wider range of foods and nutrients.Conclusions:Food composition data serve a variety of purposes, and different user groups will often have both common needs and more individual or specific needs of their data sets. The development of Use Cases for specific processes effectively identifies the needs of users, highlighting any similarities and/or differences in those needs. The application of the Use Case approach to support the software development activities within EuroFIR will ensure that user needs are effectively identified and captured in a systematic and documented way.
Purpose To investigate clinical, demographic and dietary factors associated with constipation in a sample of community dwelling people with Parkinson’s disease, recruited through a specialist outpatient clinic. Partners/carers provided a convenience control group. Scope Participants completed a baseline questionnaire (background information, diet and exercise, activities of daily living: mobility and manual dexterity, health-related quality of life (SF-12), stool frequency and characteristics, extent of concern due to constipation, laxative taking), and a four-week stool diary. The Rome criterion was used to determine constipation status. Multiple regression methods were used to explore the correlates of constipation. Baseline data were provided by 121 people with Parkinson’s, (54 controls), of whom 73% (25%) met the Rome criterion. Prospective diary data from 106 people with Parkinson’s (43 controls) showed lower proportions: 35% (7%) meeting the Rome criterion. Among all study subjects, i.e. Parkinson’s patients and controls taken together, the presence of constipation is predicted by having Parkinson’s disease (p = .003; odds ratio 4.80, 95% CI 1.64–14.04) and mobility score (p = .04; odds ratio 1.15, 95% CI 1.01–1.31), but not by dietary factors. Amongst people with Parkinson’s constipation is predicted by number of medications (p = .027). Laxative taking masks constipation, and is significantly associated with wearing protection against bowel incontinence (p = .009; odds ratio 4.80, 95% CI: 1.48–15.52). Conclusions Constipation is disease-related, not a lifestyle factor. More research is needed on optimal management and laxative use.
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Last Modified: Thursday 3 September 2015 12:33:49 by m07326
Expiry Date: Thursday 6 October 2011 15:11:02
Assembly date: Tue Sep 27 10:01:03 BST 2016
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