Cardiovascular disease is responsible for a large proportion of all deaths in the UK, and poor diet quality is a key determinant. Early adulthood is an important period to address the development of diet and dietary behaviours, as it is when overweight and obesity prevalence rises the fastest. It is also a time of rapid personal change in living arrangements, education/occupational status, relationships and parenthood – all of which alter social, physical and economic environments, and thus diet and related health behaviours.
Few studies have investigated diet changes across this period and how this transition affects diet or lifestyle behaviours. The DEBEAT study investigates changes in diet from the last year of secondary school or college to the following year, researching how these changes vary between different socioeconomic groups, those following different early adulthood pathways, and the determinants of dietary change in different settings and populations.
A pilot study was run to test the data collection and recruitment methods intended for the main study and request participant feedback concerning participation.
Aims of the study
Assess how diet quality changes from the final year of school or college to 12 months later.
Investigate how changes in diet quality differ between those who transition from secondary school into further/higher education, employment or not in education or employment.
Investigate how changes in the social and physical environment associated with these life transitions influence change in eating behaviours and diet quality.
This observational study began in September 2023 and is set to take place across twelve months until Autumn 2024. The first round of data collection, to include Intake24, questionnaires and app-based measures, took place across two weeks in September 2023, and the same individuals will be followed up one year later in Autumn 2024.
Diet and eating behaviour data through Intake24 and other questionnaires.
Individual socioeconomic status; neighbourhood, workplace food, home food and social environments; wider health behaviours; daily activities and time use; baseline demographics and health data; and mental health/eating disorder status.
Dr Eleanor Winpenny (Principal Investigator) – University of Cambridge
Emma Lachasseigne (Study Coordinator) – University of Cambridge
Struan Tait (Senior Study Coordination Assistant) – University of Cambridge
The pilot study ran from January 2023, and the main study from September 2023.
A unit-led study with responsibility for data.
The trial will be sponsored by the University of Cambridge.
Partners and Stakeholders
NIHR CRN Eastern.
The study is funded by the Medical Research Council.
Please see our Data Sharing pages.