Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Food Study Finds Diets Get Healthier Over Time

Date:
September 16, 2004
Source:
University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Summary:
Adults eat around twice the amount of fruit and vegetables and less fat and sugar than they did as children, a new study suggests.

Amelia Lake holding fruit.
Credit: Photo courtesy of University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne

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."

###

* Longitudinal dietary change from adolescence to adulthood: perceptions, attributions and evidence. AA Lake et al, Appetite 42(2004) pp 255-263.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne. "Food Study Finds Diets Get Healthier Over Time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040916102935.htm>.
University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne. (2004, September 16). Food Study Finds Diets Get Healthier Over Time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040916102935.htm
University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne. "Food Study Finds Diets Get Healthier Over Time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040916102935.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins