Paper of the month
‘Paper of the month’ is a monthly feature, whereby a recently accepted paper from a Society journal, published on Cambridge Journals Online is made freely available for a limited period. Each paper is accompanied by a blog from the author and comments and discussion are welcome.
This month’s paper is from Nutrition Research Reviews and is entitled ‘An insight into the public acceptance of nutrigenomic-based personalised nutrition’
The development of disease prevention strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases is a key priority in nutrition research. With estimates that the majority of these conditions could be prevented through diet and lifestyle changes, we naturally look towards dietary interventions to bring about this reduction in disease risk.
However, despite widespread promotion of population based healthy eating guidelines over the last decade, diseases such as CVD remains the leading cause of mortality in the EU. Recent evidence, founded on the emergence of the nutrigenomic and nutrigenetic disciplines, has pointed towards personalised nutrition as a means of facilitating this.
The present paper summarises the literature regarding the public acceptance of nutrigenomic-based personalised nutrition.
The author has written a blog on this paper. Further comments on the paper would be welcomed. To read the blog and access the full paper online (for a limited time only), please follow the link provided below.
This month’s paper is from Public Health Nutrition and is entitled ‘School food standards in the UK: implementation and evaluation’
In January 2012, the Children’s Food Trust hosted an international workshop on school food to examine the relationships between evidence and policy. Fifty delegates from over 20 countries met to present papers, discuss and debate key issues, and make recommendations that strengthen global commitment to improving the evidence base that helps to inform policy development and evaluate policy impact.
By September 2013 standards will have been introduced in all primary and secondary schools in the UK. Implementation of school food standards requires investment. The paper sets out the argument, with evidence, that it is critical to policy development that the value of this investment is measured using planned, appropriate, robust and timely evaluations.
The author has written a blog on this paper and further comments and discussion on the paper are welcomed. To view the blog entry and access the full paper online (for a limited time), please follow the link provided below.
This month’s paper is from British Journal of Nutrition and is entitled ‘Nutrition economics – food as an ally of public health’.
The World Economic Forum recently highlighted non-communicable diseases (NCD) as one of the three most significant risks to global well-being. NCD are recognised as an increasing contributor to morbidity and mortality rates in developing and industrialised countries and their related escalating healthcare costs have become a major concern for health authorities all over the world.
This paper brings together in a concise manner the significant role of nutrition to the forefront in global-scale public health relevance, through acknowledging the economic burden of undernutrition and/or overeating in specific countries. Three presentations, demonstrating how nutrition-related health benefits can translate into economic terms are summarised and offer the reader key insights on different aspects of the relationship between nutrition and public health concerns, both in developing and industrialised countries.
The author has written a blog on this paper and further comments are welcomed. To view the blog and access the full paper online, please follow the link provided below.
This month’s paper is from Public Health Nutrition and is entitled ‘Identifying whole grain foods: a comparison of different approaches for selecting more healthful whole grain products’.
Current standards for classifying foods as “whole grain” are inconsistent and, in some cases, misleading, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. One of the most widely used industry standards, the Whole Grain Stamp, actually identified grain products that were higher in both sugars and calories than products without the Stamp. The researchers urge adoption of a consistent, evidence-based standard for labeling whole grain foods to help consumers and organizations make healthy choices. This is the first study to empirically evaluate the healthfulness of whole grain foods based on five commonly used industry and government definitions.
An author of this paper has posted a blog and further comments are welcomed. For a limited time you will be able to access the full paper online through the link provided at the bottom of this blog entry.
This month’s paper is from British Journal of Nutrition and is entitled ‘Fewer adults add salt at the table after initiation of a national salt campaign in the UK: a repeated cross-sectional analysis’.
There is a strong body of evidence that links high dietary salt intakes to hypertension, which is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Department of Health have been working since 2003 to reduce the salt intake of the UK population to no more than 6g per day. This study investigated the impact of the first phase of the FSA’s consumer awareness campaign which happened in 2004 on self-reported salt use at the table in England.
The authors of this paper have posted a blog and further comments on the paper would be welcomed. For a limited time you will be able to access the full paper online through the link provided at the bottom of the blog entry.
This month’s paper is from Public Health Nutrition and is entitled ‘Public support for policies to improve the nutritional impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)’
A new poll from researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) shows that the U.S. public broadly supports increasing or maintaining spending on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The majority of Americans, including a majority of SNAP participants, also supported policies to improve the nutritional impact of SNAP by incentivizing the purchase of healthy foods and restricting the purchase of sugary drinks. Congress is expected to debate changes, including potential cuts, to SNAP and other components of federal nutrition policy in the coming months as part of the stalled 2012 Farm Bill.
The author of the paper has posted a blog and further comments on the paper would be welcomed.
This month’s paper is from Nutrition Research Reviews and is entitled ‘ The impact of substituting SFA in dairy products with MUFA or PUFA on CVD risk: evidence from human intervention studies’.
The review summarises findings from nine chronic human intervention studies, where consumption of a control milk or dairy product and one that had been modified through bovine diet to have lower saturated fatty acid (SFA) content, were compared to evaluate their effect on markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
The author of the review has posted a blog where you will be able to access the full paper. Comments on the paper would be welcomed.
This month’s paper is from Public Health Nutrition and is entitled ‘Obesity, age and gender: important new study highlights crucial considerations for intervention and research’
Obesity is a major clinical and public health concern, and accounts for approximately 3% of direct medical costs to countries globally. One third of adults worldwide and two thirds of women and men in the USA are overweight or obese.
A recent report in the journal Public Health Nutrition looks into obesity and gender factors with some important results. The study by Kimokoti et al analysed a group of men and women over a twenty six year period, taking into account age, weight, BMI, physical activity and other factors. In all BMI categories, gains were larger in younger men and women (20-39), however, BMI decreased in adults aged 50-69. Although more overweight women than men progressed to obesity at an earlier age, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was higher in men than women overall.
This study is the first to show the association between the change in waist circumference (WC) and BMI status. A striking result from the study was the emergence of abdominal obesity, which increases the risk of many chronic diseases. Abdominal obesity is shown to be responsive to physical activity independent of weight loss, and this should be considered particularly when advising women and older adults.
The report indicates that future research needs to consider age and sex as major factors when understanding patterns of BMI, weight and WC. Furthermore, intervention needs to take into account the prevalence of abdominal obesity and professionals should react accordingly.
The paper is available online for a limited period
This month’s paper is from the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society and is entitled ‘serving size guidance for consumers: is it effective?’ If you have ever had difficulty deciphering a ‘portion size’ or a ‘serving size’ or similar information then you are not alone. With jumbo-packs, family-packs, super-sized and conflicting information, it is not surprising consumers are confused.
This paper, from Faulkner and colleagues at the University of Ulster, set out to review and evaluate the current serving-size guidance and to determine the understanding, usability and acceptability of this guidance among consumers as well as its impact on consumers and the potential barriers to its uptake. While we have made huge advances in the molecular and metabolic aspects of obesity, we are reminded in this paper of the importance of the practical everyday factors that influence how much we eat. Logically, larger portion sizes may result in over-eating and contribute to rising obesity rates.
The authors identified and systematically reviewed a sample of worldwide serving size guidance schemes (n = 87) to shed light on this issue. Details of which are robustly discussed in the paper. The findings highlighted considerable confusion among consumers and indentified barriers to uptake such as our chronic exposure to larger portion sizes. However, the authors also point to some positives, for example that consumers generally understand and visualise serving sizes best when expressed in terms of household measures rather than actual weights. Although consumer adherence to serving-size guidance is a challenge; the authors recommend that further investigation is needed to ensure that future guidance resonates with consumers by being more understandable, usable and acceptable.
The authors presented this paper at the Irish Section Annual Postgraduate Meeting in Cork in February 2012 and have dedicated the paper to the memory of their colleague Professor Julie Wallace (April 1971 – February 2012).
This month’s paper is a ‘Focus on Nutrition’ article from the Journal of Nutritional Science, which examines mining microarray datasets in nutrition. Bioinformatic analysis of these datasets offers an insight into the major networks and pathways that are altered in a particular situation or in response to a specific stimulus.
Researchers from Liverpool, Buckingham and Sydney looked at microarrays from human adipocytes to investigate the effect of macrophage secretions on the expression of the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPR) genes that encode fatty acid receptors/sensors.
This month’s paper is from British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) and looks at the compliance with current advice on Vitamin D intake and the influence of several factors on vitamin D status in pregnant mothers and newborns in the north of Scotland where sunlight exposure is low.
There is currently a lack of national information on the vitamin D status of pregnant women especially those at locations of higher latitudes in the UK where the dietary vitamin D requirement is likely to be greatest.
In this study, a team of researchers from Aberdeen, UK looked at pregnant women and their singleton newborns in a large population in the north east of Scotland at high latitude between 2000 and 2006.
The study concludes that more should be done to promote vitamin D supplement use in pregnancy but also suggests that safe sun advice may be a useful additional strategy, even at high latitude.
This month’s paper is from Public Health Nutrition (PHN) and looks at the possible benefits of following nutritional guidelines.
Those who follow the nutritional guidelines issued by Sweden’s National Food Agency live longer. This is shown by a new study of the diets of 17 000 Swedish men and women over a long period of time. The greatest effect was observed in men, whose risk of dying of cardiovascular disease was almost halved.
Eating a varied diet with a high intake of wholegrain foods, fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood and polyunsaturated fats has long been regarded as healthy by scientific experts. However, as interest in our eating habits increases, many nutritional recommendations have been called into question, including the nutritional guidelines from the National Food Agency, which build on these principles.
Drake and Wirfält have shown, however, that there is a clear link between the nutritional guidelines from the National Food Agency and a lower risk of dying among middle-aged men and women.
This month’s paper is from Public Health Nutrition (PHN) and looks at the link between frequency of cooking and chances of survival.
In advanced economies, households generally cook less than half of their meals leading to an increased concern among nutrition policy makers that fewer meals are being cooked at home.
Reasons for this are varied and include lack of skills and confidence, little access to basic food commodities, cooking facilities and the availability of commercial alternatives. The food security of some vulnerable groups, like the aged, can be compromised as a result, although programs like Meals-on-Wheels can alleviate the risk.
In the study a team of Taiwanese and Australian researchers looked at the cooking practices of a group of free-living elderly Taiwanese people aged 65 and over.
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