I work in nutrition research at the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University. My day to day job can be very varied, i spend around 80% of my time in the office but I also get to come out into the community and do fun things like this. I have recently been working up in Scotland collecting dietary information from 11-24 years olds. The aim of the research is to test out an online tool we have developed that makes recording diet easier, which you guys are going to use. You will be the first school to use our system and hopefully you can give us some good feedback and get a lot from it. I have always loved science, biology in particular and then when I did my A levels at college I did a project on diet and nutrition and absolutely loved it so i studied a degree in food and human nutrition for 4 years at Newcastle University, I did 1 year work experience placement at the Human nutrition Research Centre, I really enjoyed the diversity of the job, working on different projects from start to finish, collecting data, analysing it and writing reports to share within the research community and wider public which may have an impact on the health of our communities and hopefully the population and thats why I love my job. I was very fortunate that a position came up at the research centre back in 2010 when i graduated and have worked there ever since and hopefully ill continue to work in research for a long time. I am currently working on dietary assessment methods with 11-24 year olds but hopefully can extend this to work with different age groups in the future.
So why is nutrition important...well firstly we wouldn’t be here without nutrition!!!!! Food and water play an essential role in all of our lives in terms of our physical, psychological, cultural and social well being. If we continue to eat foods which are high in fat, sugar and salt as well as not increase the amount of exercise we do this can increase our risk of certain diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, like heart attack, stroke it can lead to obesity, diabetes and some cancers. A poor diet can lower our life expectancy and everyone wants to live a long and healthy life dont they! Our body’s immune system which helps us fight infections is highly dependent on nutritional status and research shows patients in hospital who aren't getting the right nutrients experience higher rates of complications and stay in hospital 30% longer than those patients who are getting the right nutrients.The cost of diet related poor health is a massive burden to our national health service. As you can see from the highest contributor to cost in the NHS in 2012 is poor diet at a massive 5.8billion pounds , but this is also linked with obesity which is the second contributor at 5.1 billion and physical inactivity, ie lack of exercise is also a huge contributor at almost 1 billion.
What makes a healthy diet? If you think of this as a plate.... A third of our diet should be consist of fruit and vegetables, a third should be starchy foods such as bread, pasta and rice, and the last third is divided between meat, fish eggs and pulses for protein intake which helps us grow, milk and dairy for calcium for strong bones and teeth and the smallest amount should come from foods high in fat and sugar, we do need some fat and sugar in our diets but this should be less than 5% of our total energy intake. Following this eatwell plate should provide us with the adequate nutrients to maintain good health . However, these Guidelines are for the general population but not everyone has the same needs and requirements and some people may have allergies or dietary preferences or certain lifestyles, for example athletes, vegetarians, pregnant women etc and may need to alter their diets to get the right amount of nutrients from different sources. This can be from supplements of vitamins and minerals or changing the balance of foods they consume to get this right. One size doesnt always fit all and this is something you will learn more about throughout this project.
Individual level – collecting a diet diary may help doctors/dieticians identify whether a person has any intolerances/allergies for example and they can then make changes to their diet to improve and maintain good health. This can also be used when a person is overweight and the doctor or dietitian can suggest changes to the diet so that the person can lose weight and reduce their risk of diseases. Population level – collecting large scale diet information can help the government introduce recommendations and guidelines to improve the health of the general population. We currently have a survey called the National Diet and Nutrition Survey which collects diet information in the population and results are published every 2/3 years in different age groups. Because we have a growing problem of overweight and very overweight children and adults in the UK, the government introduced Change4 Life campaign which is aimed at helping people make small lifestyle changes through recommendations made to improve diet and health, for instance snack swap etc. 5 a day is recommendation to eat a variety of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, by eating more vegetables and fruit this can reduce risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease , heart attack and stroke and reduce the risk of some cancers.
We have developed a tool to record diet INTAKE24 this is an online tool that records diets and can generate nutrientoutput very quickly without the need for a researcher like ourselves to manually analyse each diet diary, which is a very long and costly process. You guys are going to use intake24 at the start of the project to record your diet and then look at your nutrient outcome in about 3 weeks time. So this is looking at all food and drink you had yesterday.You assign a time to each meal or snack and enter all food and drink, from breakfast through to before you went to sleep. You can easily add a meal or snack or if you didn’t eat anything at the predefined meal or snack you can easily delete and move onto the next time slot. You then go through the process of selecting foods from our large database, but if you cannot find a food you had then choose the nearest match and then select the portion size equal to or closest to the amount you had. Once all portion sizes are complete you submit the survey.
Introduction Powerpoint from Newcastle University Human Nutrition Research Centre
Eat book project
Cramlington Learning Village
What do you do?
What does your day-to-day job involve?
Why did you decide to become a nutritionist?
Why do you love your job?
Facts and Figures
• 1 in 5 of British adults don’t eat anything for
• Eating breakfast regularly helps you keep a
healthy weight because it increases your
• Eating breakfast also helps you
perform better at school and
be more active
Why assessing diet is important
• Collect diet information on
• Identifies areas needed for improvement
• Links diet and disease risks
• Informs policies and guidelines
– 5 a day
Eat book project