Friday, June 15, 2012

Individual factors appear to be more important than environmental factors in predicting fruit consumption in adults

In a study just published in Public Health Nutrition, we explored individual determinants of fruit intakes, such as attitudes, intentions and habit strength, and neighbourhood environment (such as availability of fruit points of purchase in the neighbourhood) and home environment (such as home availability of fruit and modeling by family members) determinants of fruit intakes. We more precisely explored if individual factors mediated the possible influence of environments, i.e. that neighbourhood and home environments have an impact on fruit intake via attitudes and intentions as predicted by recent socio-ecological models for predicting health behaviors. We used the GLOBE study (led by Dr. Frank van Lenthe) data for our analyses. Our study showed that individual factors were more strongly related to fruit intake in this population of adults than neighbourhood or home environment factors; modeling by family members, i.e. family member providing a good example by eating ample amounts of fruit themselves, was a significant home environment factor. The influence of family members appeared to be mediated by habit strength and perceived behavior control. This means that adults with fruit eating family members had stronger habits and experienced more control regarding fruit intake.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A joint programming initiative for research to endorse a healthy diet for a healthy life

Today an international meeting was held in The Hague to communicate and discuss the strategic research agenda for a European joint programming initiative (JPI) 'A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life'. This JPI aims to realize joint programming of research across different countries in Europe to provide a road map for harmonized research efforts in the field of food, nutrition, health and physical activity. The strategic research agenda for this JPI comprises three main research areas:

  1. Determinants of diet and physical activity
  2. Diet and food production
  3. Diet-related chronic disease
The next steps will be that the European Member states not only endorse this joint programming in theory, but also in practice by dedicating research funding to realize research into the prioritized areas. 
At the meeting in The Hague I had the honor to get the opportunity to address and reflect upon the first research area that aims at gaining better insights into the interplay between motivation, abilities and environmental opportunities in determining diet and physical activity behavior change.