Shotley Peninsula: University research to assess adult nutrition across Suffolk

By Guest author

4th Dec 2023 | Local News

Emma Harvey Lawrence (Picture: University of Suffolk)
Emma Harvey Lawrence (Picture: University of Suffolk)

Adults across the Shotley peninsula are being urged to share their experiences of food by taking part in a significant new research project being launched by the University of Suffolk assessing the population's nutrition knowledge and factors influencing their food choices. 

The first phase of the project, called Sustainable Healthy Eating Practices for Everyone (SHEPE) features a survey open to anyone who lives in Suffolk who is aged 18 and above, and aims to gather preliminary information to help answer the question 'does Suffolk know how to eat sustainably?' 

It will ask questions in areas such as people's knowledge of foods and vitamins, the provision of food close to them, whether they typically shop online or instore, if they have gone hungry because of a lack of funds, and what appliances they have at home to help cook or store food. 

The study, comprising three pre-validated surveys in one, is believed to be the first of its kind for the county and will provide vital information amid the backdrop of increasing costs of food, environmental impacts on food production and the prevalence of diet-related diseases in the adult population. 

Participants' data will remain anonymous, and they can benefit from a discount code from Hodmedod – an independent producer of British-grown pulse, grain and seed wholefoods – when buying from their online store. Participants who register for future study phases will be entered into a draw after the survey closes with two winners each receiving an additional £25 voucher. 

Emma Harvey Lawrence, PhD student and Lecturer in Public Health who is leading the study, said: "This is a complex area of research because it is difficult to account for all of the factors that can affect the sustainability of nutrition for an individual, but the survey will allow us to reach as many people as possible to identify some of the most important factors and help develop future study phases. 

"By taking part, adults across Suffolk can better understand their own behaviours, as well as help improve our knowledge of nutrition across the county, and crucially contribute to data that could impact on future public health initiatives in Suffolk and further afield."  

Emma intends to complete her studies in 2026, by which time her research is set to identify practices which can support households across the county with guidance on sustainability and healthy living. 

Professor Darryl Newport, Director of the Suffolk Sustainability Institute which researches areas including climate change, sustainable use of resources and healthy environments, said: "The SHEPE project is one of a host of important research initiatives the Suffolk Sustainability Institute is leading on which will provide vital data to drive on-the-ground changes addressing the threats of climate change and environmental degradation.  

"Promoting sustainable healthy living is one strand of this, and the SHEPE project will help people understand their own nutrition knowledge as well as chart the wider landscape of adult nutrition across our county." 

The survey is now live and can be completed anonymously by visiting the website here: www.uos.ac.uk/shepe  

     

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