The Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU) - University of Cambridge

What is the potential impact of reducing portion sizes in worksite cafeterias?

Reducing the portion sizes of foods available in restaurants and cafeterias is one promising approach to reducing energy intake, but there is little evidence of its impact from randomised studies in field settings. In this paper, we provide the results of a pilot trial estimating the potential impact of reducing portion sizes of targeted foods in worksite cafeterias. Feedback after the intervention suggested it was broadly acceptable to customers and cafeteria staff. Each of the six cafeterias showed a reduction in daily energy purchased from intervention categories, but the overall reduction across all sites of 8.9% was not statistically significant. The results of this trial suggest that reducing portion sizes could be effective in reducing energy purchased from targeted food categories, but also that future studies will need to address factors that prevented optimal implementation, including site dropout and only reducing portion sizes of a limited range of products.

Impact of reducing portion sizes in worksite cafeterias: a stepped wedge randomised controlled pilot trial. Hollands GJ, Cartwright E, Pilling M, Pechey R, Vasiljevic M, Jebb SA, Marteau TM, 2018

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MRC Sackler PhD candidate Tess Langfield achieves award winning abstract

We are delighted to announce that our MRC Sackler PhD candidate Tess Langfield has had her abstract titled: Impact of glass shape on time taken to drink a soft drink: a laboratory-based experiment’ rated as one of the highest for presentation at this year’s Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference 2018 (run by the British Psychological Society). Tess will be giving her award winning presentation on Friday 7th September at 10:50am.

How do different types of e-cigarette adverts affect perceptions of harm from tobacco smoking among children?

In two previous studies, we found that children exposed to e-cigarette adverts perceived occasional tobacco smoking as less harmful than children not exposed to such adverts. In this paper, we replicate and extend these findings using a larger sample, a stronger control condition and an updated meta-analysis.

This study adds to existing evidence that exposing children to adverts for e-cigarettes may reduce how harmful they perceive tobacco smoking to be. Further studies are warranted, using longitudinal and experimental designs, to assess a wider range of possible impacts of the marketing of e-cigarettes including attitudes towards the tobacco industry and tobacco control policies.

E-cigarette Adverts and Children’s Perceptions of Tobacco Smoking Harms: An Experimental Study. Vasiljevic, St John Wallis, Codling, Couturier, Sutton, Marteau, BMJ Open. Access full text.

Winners and losers? The challenges of communicating policy options

To make policy decisions that align with our goals and values, we need to understand the expected outcomes of the different options. In this paper, we review existing communications of policy options, guidance for design, and evidence for effectiveness across a wide range of domains. Open-access.

Winners and losers: Communicating the potential impacts of policies. Brick C, Freeman ALJ, Wooding S, Skylark WJ, Marteau TM, Spiegelhalter DJ. Palgrave Communications. Access full text.

What is the potential impact of calorie labelling in worksite cafeterias? A pilot study

Reducing excess consumption of food and drink is core to tackling the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in the UK and elsewhere. In this paper we provide the results of a pilot trial estimating the potential impact of calorie labelling on energy purchased across six worksite cafeterias. Post-intervention feedback amongst cafeteria patrons and worksite managers and caterers suggested high levels of acceptability. The predicted effect of labelling to reduce energy purchased was only evident at one out of six sites studied.

Impact of calorie labelling in worksite cafeterias: a stepped wedge randomised controlled pilot trial. Vasiljevic M, Cartwright E, Pilling M, Lee M-M, Bignardi G, Pechey R, Hollands GJ, Jebb SA, Marteau TM, 2018

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