Recently finished nutritional projects

OVERVIEW RECENTLY FINISHED PROJECTS

 

DEPS (drink, eat and pee at school) (2014-2015)

Observational studies in various countries all suggest that water intake in children is insufficient. Since children spend a large proportion of their time at school, it would be interesting to know the children’s hydration status at school and the effect of school policy. For this study, urine from 451 Belgian primary school children (8-13y) was collected during the school to analyse osmolality as hydration marker. Goals were:

  1. Describe the hydration status by urinary osmolality in Belgian children when they arrive at school and during the school day. Compare status with other countries.
  2. Test whether school policy is a determinant of hydration status at school and of the frequency of drinking and urinating.
  3. Describe the usual intake of beverages (amount, type, portion size) in Belgian children and compare this with the recommendation.
  4. Test whether fluid intake is related to overall diet quality.

 

Funding: spadel nv

 

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 Body Image Perception and Associated Obesity Risk in Ghanaian Adolescents (2014-2015)

The purpose of the study was to explore the body image perceptions and its associated obesity risk in Ghanaian adolescents. The study was cross-sectional involving 370 Ghanaian adolescents, 11-18yrs.  Questionnaires were used to obtain information on beliefs about body size, body size perceptions (Stunkard figures), physical activity (IPAQ), eating behaviour (EAT26), diet quality (FFQ) and media (SATAQ). Anthropometric measurements (weight, height, skinfold, waist circumference) were also performed.

 

Funding: none

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READY-TO-EAT CEREALS (2013-2015)

The purpose of this study is to examine the intakes (both amount and frequency) of ready-to-eat cereals, RTEC, among European adolescents. Furthermore, the effect of socio-demographic determinants like age, sex, social demographic status will be studied.
This will be done by using data from an existing database from the study Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) (www.helenastudy.com). HELENA is the first large-scale European survey to provide data on attitude towards nutrition and the main determinants of the food choice and preference among male and female European adolescents (see also Moreno et al 2008).

Funding: Nestlé S.A.

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 ChiBS (CHILDREN'S BODY COMPOSITION AND STRESS) (2009-2013)

This project aims to study the cross-sectional and longitudinal association between chronic psychosocial stress and body composition - in more detail the amount of body fat - in children between 5 and 12 years old. The interaction with physical activity, sleep and energy intake will be studied as well. For determining fat mass percentage, the unit purchased a BOD POD® device based on whole-body air-displacement plethysmography. A second, parallel aim is to test the feasibility and interrelationships of different stress measurements in children: the practical utility of salivary and hair cortisol measurements and heart rate variability as a diagnostic tool for chronic stress in children will be examined.

Funding: "Special Research Fund" (BOF), Ghent University; Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)

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THE INFLUENCE OF LIFESTYLE ON THE EVOLUTION OF BONE HEALTH IN FLEMISH CHILDREN (2010-2013) 

The aim of this project is to study the influence of lifestyle on the evolution of bone health in Flemish children, 2 to 12 years old. A cohort of 1000 children set up in 2008 is used. These children are followed during four years and examined three times (2008, 2010, 2012). The first objective includes the study of the evolution of bone health over this 4-year period, using a calcaneal quantitative ultrasound measurement (QUS) at the three measurement moments and a whole body scan with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) (2012). Second, biomarkers and hormones relevant for bone metabolism and growth will be analysed in blood samples and studied in relation to the QUS and DEXA results. Third, the association between nutrition, physical activity level and fitness as well as the interaction between physical activity and nutrition on the evolution of bone health will be investigated. Within all these analyses, the association with children's body composition and other anthropometric measures will be taken into account. Finally, the predictive value of the QUS measurement for fracture risk in youth will be assessed as well as the association between birth and postnatal weight and the evolution of bone health.

Funding: Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)
Collaborators: the Department of Endocrinology and Unit for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases of the Ghent University Hospital

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DIET-GENE INTERACTIONS ON FATTY ACID AND LIPID STATUS IN ADOLESCENTS (2009-2013)

Fatty acids and lipid status has been increasingly related to non-communicable disease such as cardiovascular disease, inflammatory and auto-immune disorders. The main goal of the study is to investigate the interaction between the habitual diet of adolescents and their genetic predisposition on the fatty acid and lipid serum status. The focus will be put on the omega-3 and omega-6 balance. Furthermore, the usual dietary fatty acid intake and its determinants will be assessed and compared to the current guidelines. The objectives will be studied in a European population of adolescents, aged 12.5-17.5 years old, recruited in the framework of the HELENA cross-sectional study (see below).

Funding: Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)
Collaborators: Institut Pasteur de Lille, Université Lille, Nord de France, INSERM U744, France

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TOYBOX (UNDERSTANDING AND PROMOTING FUN, HEALTHY FOOD, PLAY AND POLICY FOR THE PREVENTION OF OBESITY IN EARLY CHILDHOOD) (2010-2013)

Toybox is a European project that aims to study behavioural models for the prevention of obesity, with a particular focus on children. In this project, multidisciplinary analysis to identify the key behaviours related to obesity in early childhood will be used and new behavioural research will be conducted to explain why young children eat the foods they eat and why they do (or do not) participate in physical activity at a local level. ToyBox will review and evaluate behavioural models and educational strategies to identify best practices in changing children's behaviours. Based on the obtained insights, a multidisciplinary team will develop and implement a new intervention programme, that could be applied on a European scale, primarily aiming to influence children's behaviours and prevent obesity, evaluate its impact, outcome and cost-effectiveness and contribute to the activities of the EU platform on Diet and Physical Activity and Health and to support decision making for European Public Health Policy.

Website of the project: http://www.toybox-study.eu/
Funding: European Union 7th Framework Program

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DIETARY INTAKE OF OMEGA-6 AND OMEGA-3 PUFA IN BELGIAN ADULTS (2012)

Advances in the knowledge concerning physiological functions of dietary poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have led to an increased interest in the food sources and the level of dietary intake of these nutrients. Representative data on the intake of these fatty acids (FA) for the Belgian adult population were lacking. Therefore, this study aimed to describe data on the intake and the food sources of individual omega-6 and omega-3 PUFA for the Belgian adult population, using data from the first Belgian Food Consumption Survey were used.

Funding: Unilever Benelux

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IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infants) (2006-2012)

The main aim is to identify risk profile inventories for children susceptible to overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and comorbid conditions. Also tailored preventions strategies are developed, where genetic and non-genetic, psychosocial and social factors are considered. The impact of sensory perception is investigated by population based studies and results concerning internal and external factors, children's consumer behaviour and short and long-term effects food choices are provided.

Website of the project: http://www.ideficsstudy.eu
Funding: European Union 6th Framework Program

Collaborators: University of Bremen (Germany), Research & Education Foundation of Child Health (Cyprus), University Joseph Fourier (France), Verein zur Förderung des Technologietransfers an der Hochschule Bremerhaven (Germany), University of Glasgow (Great Britain), Lancaster University (Great Britain), University of Pécs (Hungary), University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy), National Research Council (Italy), National Cancer Institute (Italy), University of Milan (Italy), University of Zaragoza (Spain), University Illes Balears (Spain), Göteborg University (Sweden), European Food Information Council (Belgium), Laboratoriumsmedizin Dortmund (Germany), BioTel Ltd (Great Britain), Pécs Tv Communication (Hungary), Agora Med srl (Italy), National Institute for Health Development (Estonia), Copenhagen Business School (Denmark)

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PANCAKE (Pilot study for the Assessment of Nutrient intake and Food consumption among kids in Europe) (2010-2011)

The PANCAKE project was a pilot study for EFSA, as part of their activities towards a pan-European food consumption survey ‘What is on the Menu in Europe - EU-Menu'. The pilot study focused on the youngest age groups of the population, i.e. infants, toddlers and children up to 10 years of age. Tools, materials, and protocols were developed, pilot tested, and evaluated.
A main objective of the project was to recommend one of two possible dietary assessment methods and attached administration protocols. This was either 1) a consecutive 3-day food diary with data entry afterwards or 2) two non-consecutive 1-day food diaries with diary completion interviews. The Epic-Soft European computer program for 24-hour dietary protocols, personalized into a Belgian (Flemish) version, was used to estimate the intake of foods and nutrients.

Funding: Federal Public Service Health

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NA-STUDY (2010)

This study aimed to evaluate salt intake of the Belgian adult population (45-65 years) through analysis of sodium in 24-hour urine samples. Additionally, potassium concentrations in 24-hour urine samples were determined. Creatinine concentration were verified to evaluate completeness of 24-hour urine collection. In Flanders, recovery of PABA (p-aminobenzoic acid) has been used as an indicator of completeness of 24-hour urine collection, but creatinine concentration was also determined, which made it possible to compare PABA recovery with creatinine concentration as a secondary objective.

Funding: Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment

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 EUROPEAN EPODE NETWORK (2009-2010)               

Increases in the prevalence of childhood obesity throughout Europe have focused attention on the need for large-scale community based initiatives to tackle the problem. The objective was to foster healthier lifestyles and contribute to the reduction of childhood overweight and obesity through a methodology that establishes prevention at the heart of the city networks

Website of the project: http://www.epode-european-network.com
Funding: European Union - Public Health Executive Agency

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 EUROFIR (2005-2010)

EuroFIR (European Food Information Resource Network), the world -leading European Network of Excellence on Food Composition Databank systems, is a partnership between 47 universities, research institutes and small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from 25 European countries. EuroFIR provided the first comprehensive pan-European food information resource, using state-of-the-art database linking, to allow effective management, updating, extending and comparability.
It identified and provided new information for missing data for nutrients and biologically active compounds with putative health effects, and all food groups including traditional and ethnic foods. EuroFIR is seeking views with all user and stakeholder groups, in order to establish and deliver their requirements for sustainable and durable food databank systems beyond the 5-year period of the Network of Excellence.

Website of the project: http://www.eurofir.net/
Funding: European Union 6th Framework Program

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 PLANT PROTEIN AND FIBRE INTAKE IN THE BELGIAN POPULATION (2008-2009)

The purpose of this study was to examine plant protein intakes and fibre intakes in the Belgian population and to investigate compliance with the recommendations. In addition the results are compared with international data available on plant protein and fibre intakes. The main output of this study is a scientific paper describing and discussing plant protein intakes and fibre intakes in the Belgian population.

Funding: Alpro Foundation

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 PHYTOST: Consumption of food items with added phytosterols/stanols (2008-2009)

The aim was to conduct an intake estimation of food items fortified with phytosterols/stanols in the Belgian population. The study used existing databases to estimate the natural occurring intake of phytosterols. Collecting specific information related to these food items gave the opportunity to estimate the risk of the Belgian population by using scenario-analyses.

Funding: Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Collaborators: Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Ghent University

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 EFCOVAL: European Food Consumption Validation (2006-2009)

The European Food Consumption Validation (EFCOVAL) project aimed to develop and validate a method for assessing food consumption and nutrient intake across Europe. The ‘European Food Consumption Validation' (EFCOVAL) project followed on the 'European Food Consumption Survey Method' project (EFCOSUM), which advised the use of repeated, non-consecutive 24-hour dietary recalls through strictly standardised procedures, for reliable and comparable transnational data collection in food consumption surveys. EFCOVAL further developed and validated this trans-European food consumption method, including the EPIC-soft 24-h recall program, for estimating the intake of foods, nutrients and potentially hazardous chemicals within the European population.

Website of the project: http://www.efcoval.eu/
Funding: European Union 6th Framework Program

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 HELENA: Healthy lifestyle in Europe by nutrition in adolescence (2005-2008)

The HELENA study was designed to understand and effectively enhance nutritional and lifestyle habits of adolescents in Europe. One of the strengths and innovative aspects of the project was the use of common methodology for obtaining reliable and comparable data between countries. The project involved 25 partners from academia and industry areas in 10 countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom). During the 3 years of the HELENA study, three main objectives were attained. In the first place, the nutritional status of European adolescents between 13 and 16 years-old was assessed through surveys, cross-country and cross-sectional studies in the different countries. This provided insight on adolescents' knowledge and attitudes towards nutrition and physical activity, as well as identify the main determinants of their food choice and preference. Secondly, a Lifestyle Education Programme aiming at improving eating and lifestyle habits of this population segment was developed and evaluated. Finally, in collaboration with the industry partners of the project, and based on the knowledge gathered on adolescents food choice and preferences, healthy foods that are appealing to adolescents are developed.

Collaborators: University of Zaragoza (Spain), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain), Université de Lille 2 (France), Research Institute of Child Nutrition Dortmund (Germany), University of Pécs (Hungary), University of Crete School of Medicine (Greece), Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität (Germany), University of Granada (Spain), Istituto Nazionalen di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione (Italy), University of Napoli (Italy), Ghent University (Belgium), University of Vienna (Austria), Harokopio University (Greece), Institut Pasteur de Lille (France), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Asociación de Investigación de la Industria Agroalimentaria (Spain), Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association (United Kingdom), SIK - Institutet foer Livsmedel och Bioteknik (Sweden), Meurice Recherche & Development asbl (Belgium), Campden & Chorleywood Food Development Institute (Hungary), Productos Aditivos SA (Spain), Carnicas Serrano SL (Spain), Cederroth International AB (Sweden), Lantmännen Food R&D (Sweden), EUFIC (Belgium), UPM (Spain)

Website of the project: http://www.helenastudy.com/
Funding: European Union 6th Framework Program

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 PREDICTOR STUDY (2007)

The aim of this study was to determine predictors for long-term weight reduction after intervention in obese adolescents (12-18 years old). The study sample included obese children who follow a diet and physical activity program in the boarding school ‘het zeepreventorium'.

Website of the project: http://www.zeepreventorium.be/

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 BELGIAN FOOD CONSUMPTION SURVEY (2004 & 2014)

The two main objectives of the Belgian Food Consumption Survey (BNFCS) were to monitor the nutritional adequacy of the food and nutrient consumption in Belgium and to monitor food safety aspects of the food consumption in Belgium. In the first Belgian Food Consumption Survey (2004), 3200 individuals (≥15 years old and living in Belgium) were interviewed. In the second survey, 3200 individuals (3-64y) were interviewed. The Epic-Soft/GloboDiet European computer program for 24-hour dietary protocols, personalized into a Belgian (Flemish and Walloon) version, was used to estimate the intake of foods and nutrients.

Website of the project: https://fcs.wiv-isp.be/nl/SitePages/Introductiepagina.aspx

Funding: Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Collaborator: Belgian Scientific Institute for Public Health

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BOOK "MATEN EN GEWICHTEN: HANDLEIDING VOOR EEN GESTANDAARDISEERDE KWANTIFICERING VAN VOEDINGSMIDDELEN" (2001, REVISIE 2005) (HOGE GEZONDHEIDSRAAD)

A manual for standardized quantification of Foods in Belgium was developed. The essential aim of this standard book was to provide researchers in the domain of nutrition an instrument that allows to convert qualitative data (in reference to the amount of consumed food) into quantitative data in a standardized way.

Website of the project: http://www.health.belgium.be/internet2Prd/groups/public/@public/@shc/documents/ie2divers/4400388.pdf
Funding: Superior Health Council