Early adulthood is an important time to develop a healthy diet. This is the age at which there is the steepest growth in overweight/obesity prevalence, and a time when risk-factors for chronic disease e.g. atherosclerosis accumulate. Early adulthood is also an important time of transition in people’s lives, when situations and behaviours may change and new habits become established. One influence on dietary behaviours is the neighbourhood food environment, including the shops, cafes and takeaway outlets where people can buy or order food. This neighbourhood food environment (including both physical and online outlets) is likely to change as individuals move from their family home to living independently at university or as they start work. Previously studies have suggested an important role of the neighbourhood food environment in determining people’s diets. However, there have been few studies focused on this topic among young adults, and few studies looking at longitudinal data as people change environment over time.
This PhD project will involve secondary data analysis of existing survey data. The student will make use of new data from the DEBEAT study to map people’s neighbourhood food environment and online food environment across the transition from Y13 of school, to the year after school. This data will be used to investigate how changes in neighbourhood environment are associated with changes in dietary intake over time.
For more information or informal discussion about this project or similar projects, please contact Dr Eleanor Winpenny – Eleanor.Winpenny@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk