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Eating survey to provide more thought for food

Jul 27 2016

Hunter nutrition researchers are recruiting for a research study focusing on helping people improve what they eat. It will evaluate a new online assessment tool, the Australian Eating Survey (AES), which provides people with personalised dietary feedback.

Developed by Professor Clare Collins and the Nutrition and Dietetics team from the University of Newcastle, the AES is based on over 12 years of research and development. It was previously filled out on paper before being analysed by dieticians, but it was recently adapted to be completed online.

“It is now much faster to fill in and people receive a real-time analysis and personalised nutrition report that compares what they usually eat with Australian nutrition guidelines. Their report is tailored to their age, gender and life stage,” chief investigator for the study, Dr Megan Rollo, said.

Personal feedback on which food groups your daily kilojoules come from, your diet quality and how your vitamin and mineral intakes compare to recommendations is also provided.

“We are interested to see whether the personalised food and nutrient intake report can help people improve eating habits. We are seeking 50 people for this trial who want to improve their food habits, are aged 18 years and over and are relatively stable weight.”

With the trial being randomised, one group of participants will receive the AES report alone while the second group will get additional support through a self-monitoring app and personalised video coaching from a dietitian.

The latter group will use a dedicated telehealth platform that offers reliable connectivity and privacy. To be eligible, participants need access to broadband internet and a smartphone.

 “The study runs for three months. We are very interested to see how eating behaviours change over that time. We are also looking at changes in other factors such as metabolic rate, body composition and skin pigmentation which is a marker of vegetable and fruit intake,” Dr Rollo added.

Those interested in participating can visit http://bit.ly/AESstudy, email AESstudy@newcastle.edu.au or contact Dr Rollo on 4921 5649.

* Dr Megan Rollo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Nutrition & Dietetics) at the University of Newcastle School of Health Sciences, researching in conjunction with HMRI’s Cardiovascular Research program.