Browsing by Subject "Food Behaviour"

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  • Ansung, Kim (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Understanding the relationship between plant-based diets and mental health has become an important issue from a public health perspective, not only for researchers but also in everyday life. In particular, this study focused on university students since more and more students have been limiting their animal-based foods intake. At the same time, there has been a global trend of increasing mental disorders and distress among university students. Poor mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, could associate with students' academic achievement. This study examined the connections between diet choice, mental health, and academic achievement. This study used cross-sectional data from the Student Health Survey 2016 by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS). Among 3029 participants (aged 18 to 35 years) from either academic universities or universities of applied sciences in Finland, the questions from the Index of Diet Quality (IDQ) were used to construct four different diet types: 67 vegans (2.2%), 281 vegetarians (9.3%), 291 semi-vegetarians (9.6%), and 2390 omnivores (78.9%). Mental health status was measured by using two indicators: self-reported diagnosed mental disorders (depression and/or anxiety) and the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), which screened minor psychiatric disorders. Academic achievement was measured by asking about perceived academic success. The logistic regression models were used in the main analyses. The two different mental health status were analysed with adjustment for potential confounding variables such as sociodemographic factors, health-related behaviour, BMI, and disease conditions. The academic achievement was analysed with adjustment for potential confounding variables such as sociodemographic factors, health-related behaviour, BMI, disease conditions, enrolment period, and right field of study. Also, this study further examined the association between food groups and academic achievement. The results showed that compared to the omnivorous diet, the vegetarian diet was associated with higher odds of diagnosed mental disorders (OR [95% CI]: 2.74 [1.80–4.16], p<0.001) and minor psychiatric disorders screened by GHQ-12 (OR [95% CI]: 1.68[1.22–2.30], p<0.001) after adjustment for all potential confounders. Although a positive relationship between fish consumption and academic achievement was found (OR [95% CI]: .88[.80–.96], p<0.01), there was no statistically significant association between diet types and academic achievement. In addition, higher sweets consumption was related to higher odds of being less successful than students had expected (OR [95% CI]: 1.08 [1.01–1.15], p<0.05). The results indicate that vegetarian university students are more likely to have lower mental health status than non-vegetarian students on average. In addition, academic achievement is associated with the consumption of specific food items rather than diet types. Overall, the findings suggest that vegetarian students should carefully monitor their mental health status. Also, students should be supported to improve their food choice and dietary quality for their academic achievement. The study results can be implicated in public health interventions to improve students' well-being among higher education students. In future research, it may be beneficial to apply more various classifications and measures of diet types and academic achievement and examine the temporal relationship between diagnosed mental disorders and the diet chosen.
  • Gluschkoff, Tanja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Digitalization is part of a cultural change that can change people’s attitudes towards food and eating habits. Over the past decade the use of various mobile applications has increased both in people’s daily lives and in scientific research. However, from the health promotion perspective the previous studies have found that health and nutrition related mobile applications are not being used or evaluated in a versatile manner. This study examines the experiences of people who participated in a nutrition intervention at the City of Helsinki's health centers. The study examines participants’ experiences of using a MealLogger-application, its significance for the participants' food relationship and the changes experienced in their own food relationship. MealLogger is a digital food diary. The duration of the intervention was three months. It included group counseling by a nutritionist, weekly challenges and three meetings with the group. During the intervention participants actively used a digital food diary and photographed all the meals and snacks they ate during the day. The study uses a qualitative research approach. The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on the food relationship approach, including the dimensions of thoughts, emotions, senses, behavior and values. The research material consists of twenty thematic interviews. The study material was analyzed using thematic analysis and typification. Participants perceived the use of a digital food diary as positive and as a useful tool. The study identified two types of user experiences relating to the use of phone application: social and independent usage. Changes in eating habits were described in terms of developing a regular meal rhythm, reduction in portion size and reduction or substitution of certain foods, such as junk food or candy. The types of food relationships identified were based on values, behavior, emotions or information. Participants described the changes in food relationship as relationship becoming more relaxed or coherent. Some participants described having a more positive attitude towards a healthy diet. Some participants described not experiencing any changes in their relationship with food after using the digital food diary.
  • Harala, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Tausta: Ruokaympäristömme on muuttunut merkittävästi viimeisimpien vuosikymmenten aikana. On esitetty, että muun muassa suurentuneet pakkauskoot, aiempaa laajempi valikoima epäterveellisiä elintarvikkeita sekä näiden tuotteiden markkinointi on yhteydessä lasten ruokavalioon. Lisääntyneen ylipainon ja lihavuuden on selitetty johtuvan ruokaympäristössä tapahtuvista muutoksista. On myös ajateltu, että terveyden edistämisen tulisi kohdistua ympäristön, ei ainoastaan yksilön, käyttäytymisen muuttamiseen. Epäterveellisten elintarvikkeiden markkinointia koskevat rajoitukset on nähty lupaavana keinona ohjata lasten ruokaympäristöä terveyttä edistävämpään suuntaan. Päätöksenteko edellyttää luotettavia menetelmiä elintarvikkeiden ravitsemuksellisen laadun arvioimiseksi. Tavoite: Tutkimuksen tavoitteena oli arvioida suomalaisten lapsiperheiden tyypillisesti ostamien epäterveellisten elintarvikkeiden ravitsemuksellista laatua kolmella eri ravitsemusprofilointimenetelmällä. Lisäksi tutkimuksen avulla selvitettiin, kuinka hyvin ravitsemusprofilointimenetelmät erottelivat epäterveelliset elintarvikkeet niitä vastaavista terveellisemmistä vaihtoehdoista. Tutkimuksessa selvitettiin myös eri profilointimenetelmien yhtenevyyttä ja sitä, missä määrin eri profilointimenetelmillä saadut tulokset olivat keskenään eriäviä. Menetelmät: Tutkimuksen aineiston muodostivat 73 elintarviketta, jotka valittiin laajan suomalaisen ostodatan (vuosi 2018) perusteella niiden tuoteryhmien joukosta, jotka edustivat suomalaisten lapsiperheiden ostamia epäterveellisiä elintarvikkeita. Epäterveellisille elintarvikkeille valittiin omista tuoteryhmistä terveellisemmät vertailutuotteet. Aineistoon kuului lisäksi muutamia hampurilaisravintoloiden ruokia sekä referenssielintarvikkeita, kuten leipiä ja hedelmiä. Elintarvikkeet profiloitiin Nutri-Scorella, WHOEuro-mallilla sekä tätä tutkimusta varten kehitetyllä, suomalaisten ravistemussuositusten päivittäisiin saantisuosituksiin perustuvalla Findexillä. Vertailevat analyysit tehtiin tilastollisin analyysimenetelmien käyttäen SPSS 26 -tilasto-ohjelmaa. Tulokset: Eri ravitsemusprofilointimenetelmät arvioivat elintarvikkeiden ravitsemuksellista laatua melko yhtenevästi, mutta pieniä eroja niiden välillä havaittiin. Nutri-Score ja Findex olivat lähempänä toisiaan WHOEuron ollessa profilointimenetelmistä kriittisin. Eri menetelmät erottelivat epäterveelliset tuotteet terveellisemmistä vaihtoehdoista melko hyvin, mutta Findexin erottelukyky oli hieman Nutri-Scorea parempi johtuen osin Nutri-Scoren tunnistetusta ominaisuudesta profiloida systemaattisemin epäterveellisiä kuin terveellisiä tuotteita. Johtopäätökset: Jokaiseen ravitsemusprofilointimalliin liittyi sekä vahvuuksia että rajoituksia. Findex osoittautui tutkimuksessa lupaavaksi ja siihen liittyviä perusteita on tarkoituksenmukaista hyödyntää mahdollisesti olemassa olevien profilointimallien kehittämisessä ja yhteiseurooppalaisen ravitsemusprofilointimallin ja siihen perustuvan pakkausmerkinnän kehittämisessä. Markkinoinnin rajoittaminen tarjoaa mahdollisuuden vaikuttaa lasten ruokaympäristöön ja edelleen ruokavalion terveellisyyteen. Markkinoinnin rajoittamisella voidaan parhaimmillaan vähentää paljon lisättyä sokeria, suolaa, tyydyttynyttä rasvaa ja vähän terveyden kannalta hyödyllisiä ravintoaineita, kuten kuitua, sisältävien elintarvikkeiden osuutta lasten ruokavaliossa.
  • Bäck, Sari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Background: The EAT-Lancet Commission proposed a healthy dietary pattern from environmentally sustainable food production systems to guide food system transformation. The EAT-Lancet reference diet comprises mass-based food consumption targets (both point estimates and ranges) for different food groups. Baseline assessments are required to inform the planning of the national food system transformation. Therefore, it is important to identify gaps between the targets and local food consumption. Objectives: The present study aimed to assess the current state of Finnish pre-schoolers’ diet by comparison with the reference diet’s food group level targets. Specifically, the Finnish pre-schoolers’ food consumption was estimated in the food groups of the reference diet. Methods: Data from 807 children (3- to 6-year-olds, 48% girls), were collected in the Increased Health and Wellbeing in Preschools (DAGIS) cross-sectional survey in 2015–2016. Food records, covering from one up to five complete days, were kept by parents and pre-school personnel. Detailed information on foods, such as ingredients of composite dishes and product names for packed foods were recorded. Food record data were decomposed into ingredients by AivoDiet dietary software. Industrial products, such as sausages and biscuits, were manually decomposed into ingredients by estimating the shares of ingredients using product information available on a retailer’s online database and food manufacturers’ webpages. Formulas were developed to calculate the consumption of added sugars. The consumption of dairy products was converted into milk equivalents using factors from the literature. Finally, the ingredients were manually classified into the reference diet’s food groups. The target amounts were set (separately for two age groups) in grams by proportioning the published target amounts (that assume a 2500 kcal diet) to the children’s average reported energy intake. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) method was used to calculate the daily average food consumption and the proportion of children who met targets in each food group. Results: Compared to the point estimate targets, on average, the daily food consumption for 3- to 4-year-olds (n 462) and 5- to 6-year-olds (n 345) differed for vegetables (60% of the target in both age groups); legumes and nuts (below a tenth of the target); whole grains (less than a third of the target); red meat (approximately 5.5 times the target); dairy foods (approximately 5 times the target); tubers (over 2.5 times the target) and added sugar (close to double of the target). Discussion: To enable comparison with the EAT-Lancet reference diet’s food group level targets, an approach for disaggregating children’s food record data was developed. To achieve a more sustainable diet and comply with the EAT-Lancet targets, the Finnish pre-schoolers would need to consume more plant-based foods i.e. vegetables, legumes and nuts, and whole grains, which should replace the refined grains. The consumption of animal proteins, especially red meat and dairy products, would need to be decreased, as well as the consumption of tubers (mainly potato) and added sugar.
  • Jouhikainen, Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objectives The term natural is highly ambiguous and there is no clear definition, what actually is natural food. Nowadays the term is widely used in the food industry, for example in product packaging and marketing. However, as there is no common understanding for the term or any regulations of its use, it could cause confusion amongst consumers. This research was set out to explore consumers’ perceptions of natural food. The main objective of this study was to form an understanding of the meanings consumers give to natural food and how they categorize foods as natural and unnatural. Methodology This research is qualitative in nature. To assess the research topic, ten thematic, semi-structured interviews were conducted with urban Finnish women aged 23-32 years. They were generally open to new foods, hence less neophobic. As part of the interviews a categorization task was presented, in which the participants were asked to categorize 30 different protein sources from natural to unnatural. The purpose of the categorization task was to assist in revealing how consumers categorize foods, or more precisely protein sources, as natural and unnatural. Key findings The main findings were that consumers categorize foods as natural based on three various aspects: 1) processing, 2) additives and 3) packaging. Furthermore, three different meanings were found to be associated with naturalness of food: 1) healthiness, 2) familiarity and 3) locality. The study offers contributions to research concerning the perceived naturalness of food and the definitions of naturalness. It presents insights of the consumer group of urban Finnish women, who are generally open to trying new foods linking the previous research on the perceived naturalness of food to a new consumer group and cultural context. The study offers some interesting insights especially for developers of novel food products. It also offers possibilities for future research; for example there seems to be noteworthy differences between the perceived naturalness of plant-based and animal-derived protein sources. Additionally, the research reveals there is a need to further study the value conflicts concerning the perceived naturalness of food and other ideals.