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Dr Helen Eyles: “Novel technologies to improve population diets”

1st June 2015 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


All are invited to the CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Unit Seminar:

Use of novel technologies to explore effective ways to improve population diets:  policy-relevant research from New Zealand

Dr Helen Eyles, National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Monday 1 June, 2015.

About the talk
Poor diets are a major risk factor for non-communicable disease globally. Even modest improvements in diet could have a major beneficial impact on health if adopted by much of the population. Improving diets is a current global priority, yet evaluating new nutrition interventions and policies, particularly those opposed by food industry, is challenging.This seminar will provide an overview of two current research projects at The National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), University of Auckland, where novel smartphone technology is being used: SaltSwitch and Starlight. Led by Dr Eyles, the aim of the SaltSwitch RCT is to determine the effects of the SaltSwitch smartphone app on purchases of salt in households where at least one member has cardiovascular disease. The SaltSwitch app enables shoppers to scan the barcode of a packaged food and receive an interpretive (traffic light) nutrition label on the phones screen along with a list of healthier alternatives. The primary outcome is assessed using supermarket till receipts linked to food composition information. Led by Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu (Director of the DIET programme), the aim of the Starlight RCT is to assess the effects of two interpretive front-of-pack nutrition labels, compared with a standard non-interpretive label, on the healthiness of consumer food purchases. The Starlight trial is one of the first worldwide where all procedures, from baseline data collection to randomisation, intervention delivery, and outcome assessment are completed entirely via a bespoke smartphone app. The seminar will focus on methodologies but preliminary results for RCT recruitment will be presented.About Dr Eyles
Dr Helen Eyles is a Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the School of Population Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand. Helen’s primary research interests include policy-relevant interventions to improve population health with a particular focus on food pricing, food reformulation, the food supply, and mobile health technology. She is the Principal Investigator of Nutritrack, a brand-specific food composition database updated annually of packaged foods available for sale in New Zealand. Read more here. – See more at:


1st June 2015
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


CEDAR/MRC Epidemiology


Wellcome-MRC IMS-MRL, Seminar Rooms, Level 4
Robinson Way
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB2 0QQ
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