Entering early adulthood can be an exciting new chapter in young people’s lives. It can also be a turbulent period of rapid change. Young adults are tasked with navigating changes in their physical and social environments. This includes changes to their living arrangements, education, employment, relationships, and parenthood. Changes in health behaviours and risk factors for later disease also emerge in this time. For example, rates of overweight and obesity rise the fastest in early adulthood. Early adulthood may therefore be a key period for understanding and addressing known determinants of health, such as diet and eating behaviours. However, little is known about this critical transitional period, as there are many challenges associated with engaging busy young adults in research studies.
The Diet and Eating Behaviours across Early Adulthood Transitions (DEBEAT) study will investigate the drivers of changes in diet and eating behaviours through early adulthood. This longitudinal 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. DEBEAT will recruit 1,500 adolescents in the last year of secondary school and collect data from these individuals over the next year. We aim to leverage the life experiences and expertise of young people to co-create the DEBEAT study methods through a Young Person’s Advisory Group.
The DEBEAT study will address the following research questions:
- How does diet quality change from the final year (Y13) of secondary school, to 12 months later?
- How do changes in diet quality differ between those who transition from secondary school into further/higher education, employment or not in education or employment?
- How do changes in the social and physical environment associated with these life transitions 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?
For more information about the study, please contact Holly Harris (email@example.com).
Please see our Data Sharing pages.