Friday, February 16, 2018

Functional determinants of dietary intake in community-dwelling older adults

The identification of determinants of dietary intake is an important prerequisite for the development of interventions to improve dietary behaviors. In a systematic literature review just published in Public Health Nutrition with Eva Kiesswetter as first author, we aimed to compile the current knowledge on individual functional determinants of dietary intake in community-dwelling older adults. The paper was part of the Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity (DEDIPAC) joint action of the Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life joint programming initiative.
Thirty-six studies were included in the review. For chemosensory, cognitive and physical function only few studies were available, which reported inconsistent results regarding the relationship to dietary intake. In contrast, oral function was extensively studied in 31 studies.  As oral factors general aspects of oral health like number of teeth, dental status (inadequate v. adequate), caries or wearing dentures were investigated. Additionally, some studies focused on functional aspects by
assessing chewing ability and bite force. Only one study considered also the aspect of swallowing function as a component of an oral health indicator. The different surrogate measures of oral function were associated with food as well as nutrient intakes including lower intakes of vegetables and fibre, and dietary variety. As all except six studies had a cross-sectional design, no causal relationships could be derived.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Built environment and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

The built environment may influence behaviours like physical activity, diet and sleep. Such behaviours are important for risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In a study just published in BMC Medicine, we systematically reviewed and meta-analysed evidence on the association between built environmental characteristics related to lifestyle behaviour and T2DM risk worldwide. Nicole den Braver was first author on this paper and this study is part of the ENDEAVOR project.
We included 109 studies in our review and 40 studies were meta-analysed.
Living in an urban residence was associated with a 1.4 higher T2DM risk/prevalence compared to living in a rural residence. Higher neighbourhood walkability was associated with lower T2DM risk/prevalence and we found some evidence that more green space was associated with somewhat lower T2DM risk/prevalence. No convincing evidence was found for a significant association between food environment and T2DM risk/prevalence.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Psychosocial interventions improve quality of life in patients with cancer

In a study just published in the journal Psycho-oncology -by the POLARIS consortium and with Dr. Laurien Buffart as senior author-, we present the results of an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effects of psychosocial interventions on quality of life, emotional function and social function in patients with cancer, and to study for which patients such interventions work better. Therefore we looked at moderator effects of demographic, clinical, personal, and intervention-related characteristics.
We pooled IPD from 22 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), with in total more than 4000 patients for our analyses.
Overall, we found clear evidence that psychosocial interventions significantly improve quality of life  as well as emotional and social function in patients with cancer, with largest effects for psychotherapy. We found evidence that effects of coping skills training were moderated by age, treatment type, and targeted interventions. We found some evidence that effects of psychotherapy on emotional function may be moderated by cancer type, but these analyses were based on few studies.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Happiness in European Neighbourhoods

In a paper just published in the journal PLOS One, we aimed to examine the associations of both objectively assessed and perceived physical and social neighborhood characteristics with happiness in European adults. Eva Anna Christina Hart was first author and Dr. Joreintje Mackenbach was senior author on this paper and for this study we used data from the SPOTLIGHT study. Respondents reported their level of happiness on a 5-point Likert scale, and rated their perceptions of physical and social environmental neighbourhood characteristics. Objective physical environmental characteristics were also assessed, using a Google Street View-based neighbourhood audit. Associations of 14 physical and social environmental characteristics with happiness were analysed.
Living in neighbourhoods that look better ('better aesthetics') and more water and green space was associated with being very happy. Individuals who perceived their neighbourhood to be safer, more functional and more aesthetic were more likely to be very happy. The associations of functionality and aesthetics with happiness were strongest in the Ghent region (Belgium), the Randstad (the Netherlands) and Greater London (United Kingdom). Perceived absence of air pollution was only associated with higher levels of happiness among more highly educated participants. Individuals with a larger social network, more social cohesion and who trusted their neighbours were more likely to be very happy. The association between social networks and happiness was somewhat stronger in men than in women. In general, the associations between environmental characteristics and happiness had similar directions and sizes across socio-economic and socio-demographic subgroups.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Is Home Cooking associated with access to grocery stores and restaurants?

Little is known about the relation between the neighbourhood food environment and home cooking.We explored the independent and combined associations between residential neighbourhood spatial access to restaurants and grocery stores with home cooking in European adults. For this we used data from 5076 adults from five urban areas in different countries in Europe, as part of the Spotlight study. Food retailers were classified into grocery stores and restaurants. A paper describing this study was just published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, with Gabi Pinho as first author.
Our study showed that greater neighbourhood spatial access to restaurants was associated with lower frequency of home cooking, largely independent of access to grocery stores.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Access to fast food outlets and body weight in European adults

In a paper just published in the journal 'Environment and Behaviour' we examined explanatory pathways for the association between spatial access to fast food outlets and body weight in 5,076 European adults (18+) in different urban regions across Europe. Dr. Joreintje Mackenbach is first author on this paper, and we made use of the data from the Spotlight project. The total association of spatial access to fast food outlets with self-reported weight status was examined and in the analyses we took possible clustering at the neighborhood level into account. We also explored if the association between spatial access and body weight was mediated by perceived availability and usage of fast food outlets, and self-reported fast food consumption. We further explored if the associations were different according to age, gender, socioeconomic status, and urban region.
Objective spatial access to fast food outlets was not significantly related to weight status. Spatial access to fast food outlets was associated with perceptions about presence of fast food outlets and usage of fast food outlets, and this was in turn associated with greater reported fast food consumption and unhealthier weight status.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Physical activity and quality of life among head&neck cancer survivors

In a study just published on-line in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer, we again found that patient-reported levels of physical activity (PA) were associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL); this time among head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors, a group of cancer survivors that is under-studied in this respect. This was a cross-sectional study including 116 HNC survivors. Most PA among these HNC survivors consisted of household activities.
In general, it has been found -for example in a recent individual patient data meta analysis- that PA is beneficial for cancer survivors' QoL and physical functioning, but most studies have been conducted fo the most prevalent cancers, such as women with breast cancer.