In 1997 I joined the Health Education Authority to provide technical and research support to a feasibility project on the development a national point of purchase healthy eating labelling scheme. Ten years later I returned to these national level policy discussions when my team and I were invited to provide research methodological advice to the market research agency and expert group tasked with overseeing the evaluation of signpost nutrition labelling schemes, commissioned by the Food Standards Agency. This work was complemented with a leadership role in the FLABEL consortium that carried out further EU-level research. Our work on framing the differences between labels in terms of directiveness was central to the design of all the FLABEL studies. Currently we are developing the UK’s first pilot randomised control trial to enhance the use of front of pack nutrition labelling. I was also a member of the International Scientific Committee for the Choices programme, a world-wide initiative that is introducing a simple front-of-pack stamp on food products that have passed an evaluation against a set of qualifying criteria based on international dietary guidelines.
Key publications include:
Maternal and child behavioural nutrition
My interest in this area dates back to when I wrote the report describing one of the first national campaigns in the world highlighting the importance of folic acid in relation to pregnancy for the Health Education Authority. The development of this campaign was underpinned by an in-depth knowledge of lay perspectives. My more recent work has focussed on decision-making relating to infant and child feeding practices, including the development of policy.
Key publications include:
Understanding the processes through which research is translated into policy and practice
Building on my interests in nutrition policy (e.g. food labelling, folic acid, dietary guidelines) my team and I embarked on a programme of research that seeks to better understand the interplay between nutrition science and society. We have conducted mixed methods studies on the role that Scientific Advisory Bodies play; as they can be considered “boundary organisations” working at the interface between science, policy and society. Our research provides an explanation for the varying nutrition recommendations across Europe. Our work also included taking a critical stance with regard to one of the most commonly adopted nutrition policy tools, namely food-based dietary guidelines.
Key publications include:
Behavioural nutrition of older people
My research in this area has sought to address the gap in knowledge with regard to the impact food has on older people’s quality of life. In the context of the Food in Later Life project, we brought together a multi-disciplinary team from nine research centres in eight European countries. There are relatively few studies with qualitative datasets of the size and scope which we collected. Upon my suggestion the team also developed and validated a new “satisfaction with food-related life” measure. Project results were fed though to those preparing the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food report on the increased incidence of listeriosis in the UK (see www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/committee/acmsflisteria.pdf).
Key publications include:
As Principal Investigator
2012-16: Role of health-related CLaims and sYMBOLs in consumer behaviour (CLYMBOL) (EU FP7)
2012-15: Front of pack food Labelling: Impact on Consumer Choice (FLICC) (MRC)
2011: Cool snacks: snack concept-test among adolescents (Aarhus School of Business)
2010-14: PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment (Plantlibra) (EU FP7)
2010-13: FOOD RISk Communication: Perceptions and communication of food risks/benefits across Europe: development of effective communication strategies (FoodRisC) (EU FP7)
2010-12: Portion information on food and drink packaging (EUFIC)
2010-12: Good Days and Bad Days, an investigation of the habits of shoppers when they do or don’t buy healthy foods (Safefood)
2008-12: Food Labelling to Advance Better Education for Life (FLABEL) (EU FP7)
2008-09: Evaluation of the comprehension and use of UK nutrition signpost labelling scheme (FSA)
2007-12: Harmonising nutrient recommendations across Europe with special focus on vulnerable groups and consumer understanding (EURRECA) (EU FP6)
2007-08: Café - Changes Around Food Experience (impact of reduced contact with food on social engagement and wellbeing of older women) (ESRC)
2006-07: Follow-up work on Food in Later Life project (Aarhus School of Business)
2005-10: EARly Nutrition programming- long term follow up of Efficacy and Safety Trials and integrated epidemiological, genetic, animal, consumer and economic research (EARNEST) (EU FP6)
2005-09: EUROpean Food Information Resource Network (EuroFIR) (EU FP6)
2002-04: Involving low income consumers in policy making: Developing consultation methods and improving participation levels (FSA)
2002-04: Evaluation of UK food hygiene and safety training (FSA)
2002-03: An assessment of issues pertinent to the future development of the Composition of Foods (FSA)
As Co-Principal Investigator
2005-09: DIet, Obesity and GENES (DioGenes) (EU FP6)
2003-05L Choosing foods, eating meals: sustaining independence and quality of life in older people (Food in Later Life) (EU FP5)
2012-14: EURO-DISH (Determinants, Intake, Status, Health) Study on the need for food and health research infrastructures in Europe (EU FP7)
2011-14: Towards INclusive research PROgramming for sustainable FOOD innovations (Inprofood) (EU FP7)
2009-10: Understanding the dietary patterns and food choice reasoning of food allergic consumers (FSA)
2008-13: The Effect of Diet on the Mental Performance of Children (NUTRIMENTHE) (EU FP7)
2005-10: Exploiting bioactivity of European cereal GRAINs for improved nutrition and HEALTH benefits (HEALTHGRAIN) (EU FP7)
2005-08: Integration of social and natural sciences to develop improved tools for assessing and managing food chain risks affecting the rural economy (RELU)
2005-06: Investigation of the phytoestrogen intake of a group of post menopausal women previously diagnosed with breast cancer (FSA)
2004-05: Getting food safety and food hygiene messages into schools (FSA)
2003-05: The development of interventions to improve the diet of girls and young women from populations at risk of low birth weight (FSA)
2003-05: CONsumer Decision-making on Organic Products (CONDOR) (EU FP5)
2002-02: Diet Trials (BBC)
Scientific advisory body member for government
2012-present: Member of the SACN Subgroup on Maternal and Child Nutrition (SMCN)
2011-present: Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)
2009-10: Member of an expert group for the Cross Government Obesity Unit on Sedentary Behaviour, Screen Time and Obesity
Scientific advisory body member for research projects
2012-present: Loughborough hydration project
2010-present: Steering Group member for safefood’s “Food Marketing and the preschool child” project
2009-10: External Advisory Group member for safefood’s (the North-South body, responsible for the promotion of food safety on the island of Ireland) Consumer Focused Reviews on Food Behaviour [www.safefood.eu]
2006-10: Member of the International Scientific Advisory Group of the ISAFRUIT Integrated Project [www.isafruit.org]
2003-04: Steering Group for Food Standards Agency-funded Food Choice Review project [www.food.gov.uk/science/research/researchinfo/nutritionresearch/foodacceptability/n09programme/n09projectlist/n09017]
Scientific advisory body member
2010-present: Member of the European Scientific Committee for the Choices programme, a world-wide initiative that is introducing a simple front-of-pack stamp on food products that have passed an evaluation against a set of qualifying criteria based on international dietary guidelines
2008-10: Member of the International Scientific Committee for the Choices programme, a world-wide initiative that is introducing a simple front-of-pack stamp on food products that have passed an evaluation against a set of qualifying criteria based on international dietary guidelines
2011-12: Researching consumers and nutrition labelling on food packaging (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - Nature of consultancy: literature review and report writing
2007-08: National Lottery projects evaluation (new economics foundation) - Nature of consultancy: advice on research design [www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/wellbeing_evaluation_tools.pdf]
2002: Review of training delivered by West Surrey Health Promotion Service across the local health economy (NHS) - Nature of consultancy: project design, data collection, analysis and report writing
2003: Gloucestershire Food Vision: Developing a plan for an integrated food policy for the long term benefit of the people of Gloucestershire (Gloucestershire First) - Nature of consultancy: general project advice
2001: Evaluation of the 'Nation's Diet' Research Programme’ (ESRC) - Nature of consultancy: project design, data collection, analysis and report writing
Abstract Review Committee Chair for ISBNPA 2002 Annual Meeting
Abstract Review Committee Chair and Program Committee Joint-chair for ISBNPA 2003 Annual Meeting
Scientific Committee for 9th Karlsruhe Nutrition Congress, Karlsruhe, Germany, 10-12 October 2004
Abstract Review Committee and Program Committee Joint-chairs for ISBNPA 2004 Annual Meeting
Abstract Review Committee and Program Committee Joint-chairs for ISBNPA 2005 Annual Meeting
Scientific Committee for “Early Nutritional Programming and Health Outcome in Later Life: Obesity and Beyond”, Budapest, Hungary, 20-21 April 2007
Scientific Committee for “The Power of Programming, International Conference on Developmental Origins of Health and Disease”, Munich, 6-8 May 2010
PhD students currently and previously supervised as Principal supervisor
2008-13: Ilia Papachristou, University of Surrey, “Improving food-related quality of life for people with dementia through care management" – completed successfully
2008-13: Angelos Kassianos, University of Surrey, “Diet, psychological wellbeing and Quality of Life of men with prostate cancer”– completed successfully
2008-present: Charo Hodgkins, University of Surrey, “Food labelling and consumers”
2006-present: Kerry Brown, University of Surrey, "Understanding the process of setting micronutrient recommendations"
PhD students currently and previously supervised as Co-supervisor
2011-present: Shelley Cummings, University of Surrey, “Advanced decision-making in the context of dementia”
2009-present: Aida Halimic, University of Surrey, “Behavioural-economic food-related experiments in Saudi Arabia”
2008-11: Alain Allard, Queens University Belfast, “Towards a conceptual framework to evaluate consumers’ understanding of health claims” – completed successfully
2006-10: Kasia Chapman, University of Surrey, part-time, “How do people change their diet?” – completed successfully
2005-09: Joanna (Joe) Pope, University of Surrey, “Food Intolerance in Primary Care” – completed successfully
The Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (EC No. 1924/2006) has established a common framework for the regulation of nutrition and health claims used on foods across the European Union. This regulation aims to provide the European food industry opportunities for product innovation whilst protecting consumer interests with respect to controlling misleading advertising and promoting public health. However, in order to satisfy the approval of new health claims procedure particularly for new ‘reduction of disease risk’ claims [Article 14(1)(a) claims] , significant research activity is required by industry to scientifically substantiate the claims they wish to make. There is a need to establish whether the implementation of this legislation is in fact driving product innovation and the development of healthy foods or whether it forms a barrier to such developments. The EU-funded REDICLAIM project is currently considering these issues. This article describes the project’s preliminary results and outlines the further programme of work.
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.
© 2015 The Authors. Nutrition Bulletin published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Nutrition Foundation.Health claims and symbols are potential aids to help consumers identify foods that are healthier options. However, little is known as to how health claims and symbols are used by consumers in real-world shopping situations, thus making the science-based formulation of new labelling policies and the evaluation of existing ones difficult. The objective of the European Union-funded project Role of health-relatedCLaimsandsYMBOLsin consumer behaviour (CLYMBOL) is to determine how health-related information provided through claims and symbols, in their context, can affect consumer understanding, purchase and consumption. To do this, a wide range of qualitative and quantitative consumer research methods are being used, including product sampling, sorting studies (i.e. how consumers categorise claims and symbols according to concepts such as familiarity and relevance), cross-country surveys, eye-tracking (i.e. what consumers look at and for how long), laboratory and in-store experiments, structured interviews, as well as analysis of population panel data. EU Member States differ with regard to their history of use and regulation of health claims and symbols prior to the harmonisation of 2006. Findings to date indicate the need for more structured and harmonised research on the effects of health claims and symbols on consumer behaviour, particularly taking into account country-wide differences and individual characteristics such as motivation and ability to process health-related information. Based on the studies within CLYMBOL, implications and recommendations for stakeholders such as policymakers will be provided.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The research question addressed in this paper is how different reference amounts utilised in front of package nutrition labelling influence evaluation of product healthfulness. SUBJECTS/METHODS: A total of 13,117 participants from six European countries (Germany, UK, Spain, France, Poland and Sweden) were recruited via online panels. A mixed between/within-subject factorial design was employed with food (biscuits, sandwiches, yogurts), healthfulness and presence of Guideline Daily Amounts as within-subjects factors and reference amount ('per 100 g', 'typical portion', 'half portion') and country as between-subjects factors. RESULTS: Overall, people correctly ranked foods according to their objective healthfulness as defined by risk nutrients alone, and could distinguish between more and less healthful variants of foods. General healthfulness associations with the three product categories do not appear to have had a strong influence on product ratings. This study shows that where the reference amount of 'per 100 g' is very different from the 'typical' portion size, as was the case for biscuits, products with a 'per 100 g' label are rated significantly less healthful than the 'typical' or 'half typical' portions. CONCLUSION: The results indicate that across the three food categories, consumers do factor the reference amount, that is, the quantity of food for which the nutritional information is being presented, into their judgements of healthfulness. Therefore, appropriate reference amounts are also of importance for the effective presentation of nutritional information.
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.
A key step towards developing appropriate evidence-based public health nutrition policies is determining exactly how that evidence should be collected and assessed. Despite this the extent to which different evidence bases influence policy selection is rarely explored. This paper presents an epistemological framework which offers a range of considerations effecting this process generally and with particular implications for both micronutrient requirements and the role of behaviour in the policy-making process. Qualitative case study data covering six European countries/regions (Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Nordic countries, Poland and Spain), and three micronutrients (folate, iodine and vitamin D), have been presented to illustrate the relevance of the Framework.
Background: Research has suggested that patients and treatment providers hold different beliefs and models of obesity. This could impact consistency and quality of interventions for weight management. This study investigated the attitudes and beliefs of health professionals, commercial weight management advisors (expert patients) and overweight and obese dieters, towards obesity. Methods: Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire from 287 health professionals, 85 expert patients and 116 dieters. Respondents gave their views on obesity causation and consequences, and the most efficacious means to manage obesity. Demographic data and self-reported height and weight were also collected. Factor analysis, ANOVA and t-tests were used to analyse the data. Results: Health professionals, expert patients and dieters held similar models of obesity, identifying the same causes (lifestyle causes), consequences (medical consequences) and treatments (currentrecommended options) of obesity/overweight. Conclusion: This study indicated broad similarity between beliefs and attitudes of those involved in obesity treatment and those they aim to treat than previously suggested. The concordance of beliefs between patients and treatment providers is an encouraging finding and may have important implications for public health strategies in this area.
Scientific Advisory Bodies (SABs) are seen as “boundary organisations” working at the interface between science, policy and society. Although their narrowly defined remit of risk assessment is anchored in notions of rationality, objectivity, and reason, in reality, their sources for developing recommendations are not limited to scientific evidence. There is a growing expectation to involve non-scientific sources of information in the formation of knowledge, including the expectation of stakeholder consultation in forming recommendations. Such a move towards “democratisation” of scientific processes of decision making within SABs has been described and often studied as “post-normal science” (PNS) (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1993). In the current paper we examine the application of PNS in practice through a study of stakeholder consultations within the workings of the UK Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition (SACN). We use the theoretical insights from PNS-related studies to structure the analysis and examine the way in which PNS tenets resonate with the practices of SACN. We have selected a particular case of the SACN UK recommendations for salt as it is characterized by scientific controversy, uncertainty, vested interests and value conflict. We apply the tenets of PNS through documentary analysis of the SACN Salt Subgroup (SSG) consultation documents published in 2002/2003: the minutes of the 5 SACN SSG’s meetings which included summary of the SACN SSG’s stakeholder consultation and the SSG’s responses to the consultation. The analysis suggests that the SACN consultation can be construed as a process of managing sources of risk to its organisation. Thus, rather than being an evidence of post normal scientific practice, engagement became a mechanism for confirming the specific framing of science that is resonant with technocratic models of science holding authority over the facts. The implications for PNS theory are discussed. The work herein has been carried out within the EURRECA Network of Excellence (http://www.eurreca.org), financially supported by the Commission of the European Communities, Specific Research Technology and Development (RTD) Programme Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources within the sixth framework programme, contract no. 0136196. This does not necessarily reflect the Commission’s views or its future policy in this area. We would like to acknowledge the contribution made to editing of the article from Israel Berger, Uni
Objective: Food labelling is an important tool that assists people with peanut and tree nut allergies to avoid allergens. Nonetheless, other strategies are also developed and used in food choice decision making. In this paper, we examined the strategies that nut allergic individuals deploy to make safe food choices in addition to a reliance on food labelling. Methods: Three qualitative methods: an accompanied shop, in-depth semi-structured interviews, and the product choice reasoning task - were used with 32 patients that had a clinical history of reactions to peanuts and/or tree nuts consistent with IgE-mediated food allergy. Thematic analysis was applied to the transcribed data. Results: Three main strategies were identified that informed the risk assessments and food choice practices of nut allergic individuals. These pertained to: (1)qualities of product such as the product category or the country of origin, (2) past experience of consuming a food product, and (3) sensory appreciation of risk. Risk reasoning and risk management behaviours were often contingent on the context and other physiological and socio-psychological needs which often competed with risk considerations. Conclusions: Understanding and taking into account the complexity of strategies and the influences of contextual factors will allow healthcare practitioners, allergy nutritionists, and caregivers to advise and educate patients more effectively in choosing foods safely. Governmental bodies and policy makers could also benefit from an understanding of these food choice strategies when risk management policies are designed and developed. © 2013 Barnett et al.
The scientific literature contains evidence suggesting that women who have been treated for breast cancer may, as a result of their diagnosis, increase their phyto-oestrogen (PE) intake. In the present paper, we describe the creation of a dietary analysis database (based on Dietplan6) for the determination of dietary intakes of specific PE (daidzein, genistein, glycitein, formononetin, biochanin A, coumestrol, matairesinol and secoisolariciresinol), in a group of women previously diagnosed and treated for postmenopausal breast cancer. The design of the database, data evaluation criteria, literature data entry for 551 foods and primary analysis by LC-MS/MS of an additional thirty-four foods for which there were no published data are described. The dietary intake of 316 women previously treated for postmenopausal breast cancer informed the identification of potential food and beverage sources of PE and the bespoke dietary analysis database was created to, ultimately, quantify their PE intake. In order that PE exposure could be comprehensively described, fifty-four of the 316 subjects completed a 24 h urine collection, and their urinary excretion results allowed for the description of exposure to include those identified as 'equol producers'.
This paper describes the outcome of the workshop 'Deriving Micronutrient Recommendations: Updating Best Practices' which took place in Brussels in April 2012. The workshop was organised jointly by the European Micronutrient Recommendations Aligned (EURRECA) Network of Excellence and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. The delegates included, among others, representatives from nutrient recommendation setting bodies (NRSBs) across Europe. The current paper focuses on the gaps and needs of NRSBs as identified by the workshop participants: (i) practical tools and best practices to adapt dietary reference values, (ii) comparable nationally representative food consumption data (including updated and complete food composition databases), (iii) adequate financial resources and technical capacity, (iv) independence and transparency in expert selection, research conduct and communication of research results and (v) clear correspondence of terminology used at national levels.
Objectives: Examine the association between components of restrained eating, cognitive performance and weight loss maintenance. Methods: 106 women, all members of a commercial slimming organisation for at least 6. months (mean ± SD: 15.7 ± 12.4 months), were studied who, having lost 10.1 ± 9.7 kg of their initial weight, were hoping to sustain their weight loss during the 6. month study. Dietary restraint subcomponents flexible and rigid restraint, as well as preoccupying cognitions with food, body-shape and diet were assessed using questionnaires. Attentional bias to food and shape-related stimuli was measured using a modified Stroop test. Working memory performance was assessed using the N-back test. These factors, and participant weight, were measured twice at 6. month intervals. Results: Rigid restraint was associated with attentional bias to food and shape-related stimuli (r = 0.43, p < 0.001 resp r = 0.49, p < 0.001) whereas flexible restraint correlated with impaired working memory (r = - 0.25, p < 0.05). In a multiple regression analyses, flexible restraint was associated with more weight lost and better weight loss maintenance, while rigid restraint was associated with less weight loss. Conclusions: Rigid restraint correlates with a range of preoccupying cognitions and attentional bias to food and shape-related stimuli. Flexible restraint, despite the impaired working memory performance, predicts better long-term weight loss. Explicitly encouraging flexible restraint may be important in preventing and treating obesity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Objective The involvement of consumers in the development of dietary guidelines has been promoted by national and international bodies. Yet, few best practice guidelines have been established to assist such involvement. Design Qualitative semi-structured interviews explored stakeholders’ beliefs about consumer involvement in dietary guideline development. Setting Interviews were conducted in six European countries: The Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Serbia, Spain and the United Kingdom. Subjects Seventy-seven stakeholders were interviewed. Stakeholders were grouped as government, scientific advisory body, professional and academic, industry or non-government organisations. Response rate ranged from 45%-95%. Results Thematic analysis was conducted with the assistance of NVivo qualitative software (QSR International Pyt Ltd.). Analysis identified two main themes: type of consumer involvement and pros and cons of consumer involvement. Direct consumer involvement (e.g. consumer organisations), in the decision-making process was discussed as a facilitator to guideline communication towards the end of the process. Indirect consumer involvement (e.g. consumer research data), was considered at both the beginning and the end of the process. Cons to consumer involvement included the effect of vested interests on objectivity; consumer disinterest; complications in terms of time, finance and technical understanding. Pros related to increased credibility and trust in the process. Conclusions Stakeholders acknowledged benefits to consumer involvement during the development of dietary guidelines, but remained unclear on the advantage of direct contributions to the scientific content of guidelines. In the absence of established best practice, clarity on the type and reasons for consumer involvement would benefit all actors.
Significant ongoing debate exists amongst stakeholders as to the best front-of-pack labelling approach and emerging evidence suggests that the plethora of schemes may cause confusion for the consumer. To gain a better understanding of the relevant psychological phenomena and consumer perspectives surrounding FoP labelling schemes and their optimal development a Multiple Sort Procedure study involving free sorting of a range of nutritional labels presented on cards was performed in four countries (n=60). The underlying structure of the qualitative data generated was explored using Multiple Scalogram Analysis. Elicitation of categorisations from consumers has the potential to provide a very important perspective in this arena and results demonstrated that the amount of information contained within a nutrition label has high salience for consumers, as does the health utility of the label although a dichotomy exists in the affective evaluation of the labels containing varying degrees of information aggregation. Classification of exiting front-of-pack labelling systems on a proposed dimension of 'directiveness' leads to a better understanding of why some schemes may be more effective than others in particular situations or for particular consumers. Based on this research an enhanced hypothetical front-of-pack labelling scheme which combines both directive and non-directive elements is proposed.
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 objective of this study was to relate behaviour change mechanisms to nutritionally relevant behaviour and demonstrate how the different mechanisms can affect attempts to change these behaviours. Folate was used as an example to illuminate the possibilities and challenges in inducing behaviour change. The behaviours affecting folate intake were recognised and categorised. Behaviour change mechanisms from "rational model of man", behavioural economics, health psychology and social psychology were identified and aligned against folate-related behaviours. The folate example demonstrated the complexity of mechanisms influencing possible behavioural changes, even though this only targets the intake of a single micronutrient. When considering possible options to promote folate intake, the feasibility of producing the desired outcome should be related to the mechanisms of required changes in behaviour and the possible alternatives that require no or only minor changes in behaviour. Dissecting the theories provides new approaches to food-related behaviour that will aid the development of batteries of policy options when targeting nutritional problems.
Aims: To (i) compare the views of general practitioners (GPs) and parents about the causes, consequences and management of childhood overweight/obesity; and (ii) explore the extent to which they can identify overweight/obesity in children. Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to all GPs in one Primary Care Trust and all parents in one primary school in southern England, 2008. Information was gathered on socio-demographic background, views about causes, consequences and management of childhood overweight/obesity; judgements about the weight status of 14 images of children (seven boys, seven girls) in the Children's Body Image Scale (CBIS). Comparisons were made between GP and parents' responses using unpaired bivariate tests. Results: The response rate was 33%. Differences exist between the views of GPs and parents about childhood weight management: 86.4% of parents felt GPs should be involved, compared to 73.3% of GPs (P < 0.001). Parents thought GPs should be more proactive than the GPs stated they would be. GPs were significantly more likely than parents to see a role for school nurses and dieticians. One third of respondents thought GPs lacked expertise in child weight management. Most GPs and parents correctly identified obese children from the images, but inaccuracies occurred at category margins. Conclusions: Childhood overweight/obesity is a serious public health concern, and primary care has a role to play in tackling it. GPs in England need more training in childhood overweight/obesity management. Their role needs to be clarified in the context of multiagency approaches.
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.
Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), this study investigates weight control in overweight and obese participants (27kg/m(2)⩽BMI<45kg/m(2)) taking part in a dietary intervention trial targeted at weight loss maintenance (n=932). Respondents completed TPB measures investigating "weight gain prevention" at three time points. Correlation and regression analyses were used to investigate the relationship between TPB variables and weight regain. The TPB explained up to 27% variance in expectation, 14% in intention and 20% in desire scores. No relationship was established between intention, expectation or desire and behaviour at Time 1 or Time 2. Perceived need and subjective norm were found to be significantly related to weight regain, however, the model explained a maximum of 11% of the variation in weight regain. Better understanding of overweight individuals' trajectories of weight control is needed to help inform studies investigating people's weight regain behaviours. Future research using the TPB model to explain weight control should consider the likely behaviours being sought by individuals.
Background: Precautionary ‘may contain’ warnings are used to indicate possible allergen contamination. Neither food safety nor foods labelling legislation address this issue. The aim of this study is to understand how peanut and nut allergic adults interpret ‘may contain’ labelling and how they use this information when purchasing food. Methods: Qualitative methods were used to explore both behaviour and attitudes. The behaviour and ‘thinking aloud’ of 32 participants were recorded during their normal food shop. A semi-structured interview also explored participants’ views about 13 potentially problematic packaged foods. Transcribed data from these tasks were analysed to explore the interpretation of ‘may contain’ labelling and how this influenced food choice decisions. Results: Peanut and nut allergic individuals adopt a complex range of responses and strategies to interpret ‘may contain’ labelling. Many claimed such labelling was not credible or desirable; many ignored it whilst some found it helpful and avoided products with all such labelling. Interpretation and consequent decisions were not only based on the detail of the labelling but also on external factors such as the nature of the product, the perceived trustworthiness of the producer and on the previous experience of the nut allergic individual. Conclusions: ’May contain’ labelling was interpreted in the light of judgements about the product, producer and previous personal experience. It is vital that these interpretation strategies are taken into account by those responsible for labelling itself and for the provision of advice to nut allergic individuals. Suggestions to improve labelling and advice to the allergic individual are considered.
Weight management is a dynamic process, with a pre-treatment phase, a treatment (including process) phase and post-treatment maintenance, and where relapse is possible during both the treatment and maintenance. Variability in the statistical power of the studies concerned, heterogeneity in the definitions, the complexity of obesity and treatment success, the constructs and measures used to predict weight loss and maintenance, and an appreciation of who and how many people achieve it, make prediction difficult. In models of weight loss or maintenance: (i) predictors explain up to 20–30% of the variance; (ii) many predictors are the sum of several small constituent variables, each accounting for a smaller proportion of the variance; (iii) correlational or predictive relationships differ across study populations; (iv) inter-individual variability in predictors and correlates of outcomes is high and (v) most of the variance remains unexplained. Greater standardization of predictive constructs and outcome measures, in more clearly defined study populations, tracked longitudinally, is needed to better predict who sustains weight loss. Treatments need to develop a more individualized approach that is sensitive to patients' needs and individual differences, which requires measuring and predicting patterns of intra-individual behaviour variations associated weight loss and its maintenance. This information will help people shape behaviour change solutions to their own lifestyle needs.
Recent legislation has sought to improve the information printed on packaged foods relevant to the safety of food allergic consumers. We aimed to understand the complex risk assessment decisions made by peanut and nut-allergic adults when purchasing food, with particular reference to use of printed package information.
In a policy environment that contains structures to enable public engagement, the validity of expressions of public opinion and concern are in part legitimated through constructions of their representativeness. The current paper examined the ways in which various organisations involved in food and nutrition policy development negotiated the legitimacy of their inclusion in policy processes through claims about who they represented and how, with a specific focus upon older people (aged 60+) as an example of the “hard to reach”. This study is set in the context of theoretical considerations around the forms of representativeness that have been identified in the literature. A thematic analysis of 52 interviews with organisations and stakeholders active in the area of food and nutrition policy in England, UK explores these competing modalities of representation and how they are used both to claim legitimacy for self and to discount the claims of others. Different scripts of representation are deployed by various stakeholders and there is evidence of the strategic and the simultaneous deployment of different representativeness claims. The notions of expert representativeness permeate other modalities of representativeness, suggesting that the dominant framework for food and nutrition policy development is based upon technocratic models of decision-making. This highlights the way in which public views can be distanced from the framing of policy questions.
Background: European consumers are faced with a myriad of food related risk and benefit information and it is regularly left up to the consumer to interpret these, often conflicting, pieces of information as a coherent message. This conflict is especially apparent in times of food crises and can have major public health implications. Scientific results and risk assessments cannot always be easily communicated into simple guidelines and advice that nonscientists like the public or the media can easily understand especially when there is conflicting, uncertain or complex information about a particular food or aspects thereof. The need for improved strategies and tools for communication about food risks and benefits is therefore paramount. The FoodRisC project ("Food Risk Communication - Perceptions and communication of food risks/benefits across Europe: development of effective communication strategies”) aims to address this issue. The FoodRisC project will examine consumer perceptions and investigate how people acquire and use information in food domains in order to develop targeted strategies for food communication across Europe. Methods/Design: This project consists of 6 research work packages which, using qualitative and quantitative methodologies, are focused on development of a framework for investigating food risk/benefit issues across Europe, exploration of the role of new and traditional media in food communication and testing of the framework in order to develop evidence based communication strategies and tools. The main outcome of the FoodRisC project will be a toolkit to enable coherent communication of food risk/benefit messages in Europe. The toolkit will integrate theoretical models and new measurement paradigms as well as building on social marketing approaches around consumer segmentation. Use of the toolkit and guides will assist policy makers, food authorities and other end users in developing common approaches to communicating coherent messages to consumers in Europe. Discussion: The FoodRisC project offers a unique approach to the investigation of food risk/benefit communication. The effective spread of food risk/benefit information will assist initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of food-related illness and disease, reducing the economic impact of food crises and ensuring that confidence in safe and nutritious food is fostered and maintained in Europe.
A range of stakeholders have been involved in the development and implementation of dietary guidelines (DG) across Europe. Seventy-seven semi-structured qualitative interviews explored stakeholders' beliefs of DG in six European countries/regions. A main theme, variation in the interpretation of the term dietary guideline, was identified using thematic analysis. Descriptions of DG varied across stakeholder groups and countries. Reference was made to both food-based and nutrient-based guidelines, including the terms food-based DG and food guides (for example, pyramids), nutrient recommendations, dietary recommendations, dietary reference values and guideline daily amounts. The terminology surrounding DG requires greater clarity. Until that time, stakeholders would benefit from increased awareness of potential misinterpretations and the implications of this on multi-stakeholder, multi-national policy development and implementation.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 13 April 2011; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2011.38.
Objective To examine the workings of the nutrition-related scientific advisory bodies in Europe, paying particular attention to the internal and external contexts within which they operate. Design Desk research based on two data collection strategies: a questionnaire completed by key informants in the field of micronutrient recommendations and a case study that focused on mandatory folic acid (FA) fortification. Setting Questionnaire-based data were collected across thirty-five European countries. The FA fortification case study was conducted in the UK, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic and Hungary. Results Varied bodies are responsible for setting micronutrient recommendations, each with different statutory and legal models of operation. Transparency is highest where there are standing scientific advisory committees (SAC). Where the standing SAC is created, the range of expertise and the terms of reference for the SAC are determined by the government. Where there is no dedicated SAC, the impetus for the development of micronutrient recommendations and the associated policies comes from interested specialists in the area. This is typically linked with an ad hoc selection of a problem area to consider, lack of openness and transparency in the decisions and over-reliance on international recommendations. Conclusions Even when there is consensus about the science behind micronutrient recommendations, there is a range of other influences that will affect decisions about the policy approaches to nutrition-related public health. This indicates the need to document the evidence that is drawn upon in the decisions about nutrition policy related to micronutrient intake.
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.
Food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) have primarily been designed for the consumer to encourage healthy, habitual food choices, decrease chronic disease risk and improve public health. However, minimal research has been conducted to evaluate whether FBDG are utilised by the public. The present review used a framework of three concepts, awareness, understanding and use, to summarise consumer evidence related to national FBDG and food guides. Searches of nine electronic databases, reference lists and Internet grey literature elicited 939 articles. Predetermined exclusion criteria selected twenty-eight studies for review. These consisted of qualitative, quantitative and mixed study designs, non-clinical participants, related to official FBDG for the general public, and involved measures of consumer awareness, understanding or use of FBDG. The three concepts of awareness, understanding and use were often discussed interchangeably. Nevertheless, a greater amount of evidence for consumer awareness and understanding was reported than consumer use of FBDG. The twenty-eight studies varied in terms of aim, design and method. Study quality also varied with raw qualitative data, and quantitative method details were often omitted. Thus, the reliability and validity of these review findings may be limited. Further research is required to evaluate the efficacy of FBDG as a public health promotion tool. If the purpose of FBDG is to evoke consumer behaviour change, then the framework of consumer awareness, understanding and use of FBDG may be useful to categorise consumer behaviour studies and complement the dietary survey and health outcome data in the process of FBDG evaluation and revision.
BMI differentiation and obesity incidence in relation to food patterns of Polish older people were analysed. The research included 422 people aged 65+ years. 21 food patterns were separated by the factor analysis. On the basis of the self-reported body mass and height, the BMI and percentages of overweight or obese people were calculated. The increase of the BMI and overweight and obesity incidence for both sexes was unequivocally connected with eating rye. The increase of the BMI and overweight and obesity incidence depended among women on consuming pork raeat and alcoholic beverages. For men the increase in eating dairy products was connected with the overweight incidence increase. The role of fruit and vegetables needs to be explained in further studies.
In this chapter, we will give a brief introduction to the current practice of nutrition labeling in the USA and the EU. We will then address the question of how nutrition labeling affects consumer behavior, reviewing extant research and proposing an agenda for future research. Our discussion will focus on the effects of nutrition labeling that occur via their impact on consumer behavior. Labeling may also have effects on the supply side: For example, as labeling makes certain nutritional properties of a product more visible, new product development and product reformulation may take place to create positive nutritional profiles. Such effects, while potentially very important from a public health perspective, will not be addressed in this chapter (see Moorman, 1998 and Moorman, Du & Mela, 2005 for investigation of such effects).
The concept of early nutrition programming is appearing in policy documents, leaflets and magazine articles with different types of statements. However, the level of representation and influence of this concept is unknown in the area of infant nutrition. We established the degree of reflection and the impact of the concept of nutrition programming among the different government stakeholders of infant nutrition in four European countries. In each country, a list of stakeholders in the area of infant feeding was established and key persons responsible for the remit of infant nutrition were identified. We conducted standardised face-to-face or phone interviews from January 2006 to January 2007. The interview guide included questions about the concept of nutrition programming. All interviews were digitally recorded and qualitative data analysis was done using QRS NVivo V2. In total, we analyzed 17 interviews from government organizations in England (5 interviews), Germany (4 interviews), Hungary (3 interviews) and Spain (5 interviews). The concept of nutrition programming was recognized from 4/5 English and 3/4 German interviewees, whereby one organisation reflected the concept in their documents in both countries. In Hungary, 1/3 interviewees recognised the concept and reflected it in their documents. All interviewed Spanish governmental bodies (5/5) recognised the concept of nutrition programming and three of them reflected the concept in their documents. The concept of early nutrition programming was widely recognized among the key persons of government bodies in all four European countries. However, the concept was not necessarily represented in the produced documents.
Dietary intake and nutritional status not only play a major role in the overall quality of health of older people but also have impact on their satisfaction with life (Sahyoun, 1999, Vailas et al., 1998). Silverman et al. (2002) argue that the type of food eaten and the social cultural context all make significant contributions to older people’s satisfaction with their quality of life. Investigating satisfaction with food-related life of older people has high significance for several reasons. Firstly, food and energy intake tend to decrease with ageing for a number of both physiological and practical reasons including reduced activity (immobility), reduced muscle tissue, a lower resting metabolic rate and smaller meals (Macintosch et al., 2000; Prinsley & Sandstead, 1990). This reduced energy intake, also known as “anorexia of aging”, is a potential health risk because, although food intake is reduced with age, the need for most nutrients does not decrease with age. Secondly, ageing affects the ability to taste and smell. Also seniors are less sensitive to all the basic tastes and particularly smells. Both the ability to detect tastes and smells and their intensity declines with age and it has been suggested (Rolls, 1999; Westenhoefer, 2005) that sensory losses accompanying aging may even be partly responsible for the reduced intake of foods (see chapter XXX). Further as people get older their living circumstances may alter. For example, as people retire their level of income may reduce and their social network may also diminish. As health fails, access to shops and amenities may become a problem. As people loose their living companions due to death of spouse or children leaving home, cooking arrangements may change. All these factors compound as people get older, affecting older people’s relationship with food and in turn their satisfaction with food-related life. By identifying which factors are important and what can be altered, it may be possible to increase older people’s satisfaction with food and in turn contribute to a better quality of life. This chapter looks at food related satisfaction with life of older people, identifying some of the determinants and barriers to satisfaction with food related quality of life, and discusses
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