University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > MRC Epidemiology and CEDAR Seminars > Use of novel technologies to explore effective ways to improve population diets: policy-relevant research from New Zealand

Use of novel technologies to explore effective ways to improve population diets: policy-relevant research from New Zealand

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https://diet.auckland.ac.nz/content/dr-helen-eyles

Poor diets are a major risk factor for non-communicable disease globally. Even modest improvements in diet could have a major beneficial impact on health if adopted by much of the population. Improving diets is a current global priority, yet evaluating new nutrition interventions and policies, particularly those opposed by food industry, is challenging. This seminar will provide an overview of two current research projects at The National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), University of Auckland, where novel smartphone technology is being used: SaltSwitch and Starlight. Led by Dr Eyles, the aim of the SaltSwitch RCT is to determine the effects of the SaltSwitch smartphone app on purchases of salt in households where at least one member has cardiovascular disease. The SaltSwitch app enables shoppers to scan the barcode of a packaged food and receive an interpretive (traffic light) nutrition label on the phones screen along with a list of healthier alternatives. The primary outcome is assessed using supermarket till receipts linked to food composition information. Led by Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu (Director of the DIET programme), the aim of the Starlight RCT is to assess the effects of two interpretive front-of-pack nutrition labels, compared with a standard non-interpretive label, on the healthiness of consumer food purchases. The Starlight trial is one of the first worldwide where all procedures, from baseline data collection to randomisation, intervention delivery, and outcome assessment are completed entirely via a bespoke smartphone app. The seminar will focus on methodologies but preliminary results for RCT recruitment will be presented.

This talk is part of the MRC Epidemiology and CEDAR Seminars series.

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