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Why we’re running this study
Entering early adulthood can be an exciting new chapter in young people’s lives. This period often includes changes in living arrangements, starting a new job or a new education course, and changes in friendships and relationships.
Early adulthood is also an important period for health and is the age at which overweight and obesity rise the fastest. It can also be a time of development of new food and exercise-related behaviours in response to new living environments. We want to understand more about the changing influences and constraints which young adults experience, and how these may be related to the food they eat and their long-term health.
What the main study is looking to answer
The main DEBEAT study will address the following research questions:
- How does diet change from the final year (Y13) of school/college to 12 months later?
- How do changes in diet differ between those who transition from secondary school into further/higher education, employment or not in education or employment?
- How do changes in the environment in which people live, work and study influence changes in eating behaviours and diet quality?
- How do individuals’ disordered eating behaviours interact with different life transitions to influence changes in diet quality?
What this pilot study aims to do
The Diet and Eating Behaviours across Early Adulthood Transitions (DEBEAT) pilot study aims to run from the beginning of January 2023.
This study focuses on the transition out of secondary school to understand how changes in social environments, local food environments and economic factors impact diet and eating behaviours over this period. We aim to recruit around 100 participants aged 17-18 in their final year of sixth form or college. These participants will be asked to complete seven web-based questionnaires across 14 days regarding their nutrition and lifestyle.
The pilot study will test the data collection and recruitment methods intended for the main study and request participant feedback concerning participation. These methods include refer-a-friend schemes and using emails and texts for invitations and reminders to complete online questionnaires. The study will also assess the level of questionnaire completion and whether the wording of questions and response options are burdensome.
What you can expect from us
This research will add to current knowledge about diet and other risk factors in early adulthood which contribute to poor health later in life. By understanding how diet is changing and what influences these changes in early adulthood, we will find out how best to support young people to live healthy lives. This could include things like improving access to healthy foods in workplaces, changing planning rules for food shops or takeaway outlets, or offering personalised lifestyle support at particular life stages.
We will share with you all the findings that come from this research and information on what we are doing with these findings. We will also offer you personalised feedback on your own health and lifestyle in relation to the other participants in the study, so you can understand how your own lifestyle might be influencing your health.
We will compensate you for your time, with up to £20 in amazon vouchers if you complete all seven of the web-based questionnaires.
Contact us for more information
Please contact the study team (DEBEAT.Study@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk) for more information about the study.
- Eleanor Winpenny (Principal Investigator)
- Emma Lachasseigne (Study Coordinator)
- Struan Tait (Senior Study Coordination Assistant)
Please see our Data Sharing page.