Friday, February 17, 2017

Measurement of availability and accessibility of food among youth

Availability and accessibility of foods are regarded as important determinants of food choice and nutrition behavior, because it makes sense that people -children as well as adults- tend to eat what is easily available and accessible to them. To study the relevance of availability and accessibility, good, i.e. valid and reliable, measures of availability and accessibility are needed. In a paper just published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, we present and discuss the results of a systematic review of the psychometric properties of measures of food availability and accessibility among youth. A secondary objective was to assess how availability and accessibility were conceptualized in the included studies.
We reviewed studies studies published between January 2010 and March 2016 that reported on at least one psychometric property of a measure of availability and/or accessibility of food among youth were included.
A total of 20 studies were included. While 16 studies included measures of food availability, three included measures of both availability and accessibility; one study included a measure of accessibility only. Different conceptualizations of availability and accessibility were used across the studies. The measures aimed at assessing availability and/or accessibility in the home environment, the school, stores, childcare/early care and education services and restaurants. Most studies followed systematic steps in the development of the measures. The most common psychometrics tested for these measures were test-retest reliability and criterion validity. The majority of the measures had satisfactory evidence of reliability and/or validity. None of the included studies assessed the responsiveness of the measures.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Screentime and soft drinks

Extensive sedentary time, i.e. (uninterrupted) sitting for too long, and especially sitting in from of TV's or other 'screens' have been associated with unfavorable cardiometabolic health. Apart from sitting too long itself, TV time may be accompanied by snacking and sugary drinks, which may lead to excess calorie intake, unnecessary weight gain, and eventually to overweight and obesity. In a study just published in the journal PLOS One we explored if children who spend more time sitting behind or before 'screens' TV, PC, tablet et cetera, i.e. 'screen-based sedentary behavior' drink more sugar-sweetened soft drinks. The study also assessed if such an association between screen-based sitting time and sugary drinks intakes differed according to level of education of the parents.
Data were collected from 7886 children participating in the EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth (ENERGY) survey conducted in eight European countries.
In six of the eight included countries, children who reported to watch more TV also reported to drink more soft drinks, but there was no significant association between computer use and soft drink consumption in six of the eight countries. In Norway and Hungary, the association between TV viewing and soft drinks was stronger for children from lower educated parents.