student profile: Ms Lyndal Wellard-cole


Thesis work

Thesis title: Contribution of food prepared outside the home to diets of young adults

Supervisors: Adrian BAUMAN , Margaret ALLMAN-FARINELLI

Thesis abstract:

Overweight and obesity in Australia are increasing. Increased consumption of foods prepared away from home has been suggested as a contributing factor. Those aged 18-30 years are the largest consumer group, and also the group who gained weight at the highest rate over the past decade.

The frequency, amount and types of foods that are purchased and consumed away from home has not been quantified. The places these foods are sourced and their contribution to nutrient and energy intakes needs to be determined. Whether foods purchased outside the home replace usual meals or are additive to usual diet should be ascertained.

The aim of my PhD research is to measure the frequency, type, amount and place of purchase of foods eaten away from home by a population sample of 1,000 young adults (age 18 to 30 years) residing in NSW. The main study is a quantitative, technology-enabled assessment of the consumption of foods prepared away from home. The sub-study is a qualitative exploration of the social and environmental contexts of food choice.

Young adults from a range of geographic and socioeconomic will be recruited, complete the screening questionnaire and eligible participants will record three consecutive days of dietary intake using the custom-designed Eat and Track (EaT) smartphone application. After recording their diet participants will complete an extensive demographic questionnaire.

Two hundred participants will also complete the sub-study during which they will wear a small camera that continuously takes photographs at 30 second intervals. This will provide real-time contextual data on where the participants sourced and ate their food, who they eat with and what they are doing while they eat.

The results from this study will provide insight into the best way to intervene and communicate with young people about healthier options when eating out.

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.