Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Food study finds diets get healthier over time


Adults eat around twice the amount of fruit and vegetables and less fat and sugar than they did as children, a new study suggests.

Contrary to popular opinion, nutritionists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne found that most people’s diets get healthier from childhood to young adulthood. However, the research team, who were funded by the Wellcome Trust and who have published their results in the academic journal, Appetite*, also discovered that many people perceive barriers to healthy eating.

People who took part in the study said parents, partners and children influenced their diet, together with their amount of free time and work patterns. These factors can exert either a positive or a negative effect.

For example, people who saw their parents’ influence as positive consumed more fruit and vegetables as adolescents. And whereas a third of people, mainly men, felt their partners had a positive influence on their diet, ten per cent, mainly women, indicated their partners’ influence was negative.

A third of participants blamed a busy lifestyle as a reason for not being able to prepare ‘healthy meals’, often because they believed fruit and vegetables needed time for preparation and cooking. These people were more likely to have smaller intakes in fruit and vegetables over the 20 years than those who did not say a lack of time had influenced their diet. However, it was perceived lack of time, rather than actual free time, that influenced people’s food choices.

For the study, the Newcastle University research team examined the food consumption of 200 schoolchildren aged 11-12 years old and revisited the same people 20 years later in their early thirties. On both occasions, participants kept detailed food diaries and were also questioned about their diets and the perceived influences on food intake. Researchers then analysed the two sets of results.

The lead author of the study, Amelia Lake, a registered dietician and Newcastle University researcher, said the findings suggested that although general healthy eating messages were getting through to most people, they also needed to be more carefully targeted to reach individuals who believe their lifestyle still prevents them from eating well.

Schemes such as the Government’s ‘Five a Day’ project, which recommends that each person eats five portions of fruit or vegetables per day, need to be combined with advice specifically tailored to individuals, perhaps in consultations with doctors and nurses.

However, Miss Lake, a researcher with Newcastle University’s Human Nutrition Research Centre, said the reasons for dietary patterns and change were complex: “A lot depends on people’s individual coping mechanisms and attitude to life. A lack of time is not necessarily the reason for people not attempting to eat healthily. Some working adults are inspired to make a healthy meal in the evenings, while somebody with the same amount of time on their hands would feel under pressure and be inclined to send out for a takeaway. “These results suggest that the diet is really up to the individual and their personality, and that general health messages are not necessarily enough when a variety of factors are working to prevent people from eating healthily.

Miss Lake added: “Diet needs to be taken more seriously. Home has a major impact on what children and adults eat, schools and workplaces and health care professionals have a role to play. “Work from this study has shown that children who were high fruit and vegetable consumers maintain this intake into their early thirties. This reaffirms the importance of the National Fruit in Schools Scheme, where children are being encouraged to eat fruit.

“We also need to examine the availability of healthy food in venues such the workplace and in shops. Despite all the healthy eating messages that abound, it’s still easier to go to a local shop and buy a chocolate bar rather than a piece of fruit.”

Claire Jordan | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>