How does fruit and vegetable intake compare among younger and older adults during the pandemic? How do our diets look now, as compared to before COVID-19? What are the main sources of groceries that Atlantic residents are accessing?
Researchers in the Faculty of Health are calling Atlantic Canadians to find answers to questions just like these.
Led by Dr. Catherine L. Mah, Canada Research Chair in Promoting Healthy Populations, the CELLAR (COVID-related Eating Limitations and Latent Dietary Effects in the Atlantic Region) research study is investigating the nutritional consequences of how we’re eating in Atlantic Canada during the pandemic.
CELLAR brings together an outstanding interdisciplinary team of investigators from Dalhousie, Memorial University as well as nutrition experts from Australia. (See the bottom of this story for a full list of researchers).
“Atlantic provinces have among the highest diet-related health risk in the country,” says Dr. Mah. “So, we want to discover how the impact the pandemic is having on the consumer food environment is changing our eating habits — especially as it relates to economics and geography.”
Recovery to long-term response
Through CELLAR, the research team will carry out an in-depth analysis of how COVID-19 is affecting what and how Atlantic residents eat. The results will produce much-needed regional evidence for social and economic policies that support healthy eating for all — during and after the pandemic.
“Past public health monitoring in Nova Scotia tells us that one in five households with children are food insecure, they don’t have adequate economic access to food,” Dr. Mah explains. “We expect that proportion will be even higher now because of COVID-19.”
Starting this week, research coordinators will begin recruiting participants via random digit dialing and they’re asking Atlantic Canadians to be on the lookout for their call. The study seeks to enrol a robust random sample of approximately 1,000 participants representative of the population in the four Atlantic provinces. The selected participants will be involved with the study for 12 weeks and receive up to $120 in grocery gift cards as a thank you for their participation.
“Nutrition has both short- and long-term effects on health,” says Dr. Mah. “We hope the results will support the inclusion of social policies focused on food insecurity and nutrition as we shift toward recovery and the long-term response to the pandemic."
Full investigative team includes:
Dr. Catherine L. Mah, CRC in Promoting Healthy Populations (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Emily Jago, Research Manager, Faculty of Health (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Korede Esan, Research Coordinator, Faculty of Health (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Ryan Lukic, Research Coordinator, Faculty of Health (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Maria Clarke, Research Analyst, Faculty of Health (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Nathan Taylor, PhD candidate, Faculty of Health (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Gabriella Luongo, PhD candidate, Faculty of Health (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Dr. Karen Foster, CRC in Sustainable Rural Futures for Atlantic Canada (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Dr. Daniel Fuller, CRC in Population Physical Activity (Memorial University, CAN)
Dr. Mohammad Hajizadeh, Associate Professor, School of Health Administration (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Dr. Dominika Wranik, Associate Professor & Associate Dean Research, School of Public Administration (Dalhousie University, CAN)
Dr. Yanqing Yi, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine (Memorial University, CAN)
Dr. Julie Brimblecombe, Associate Professor Public Health Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine (Monash University, AUS)
Dr. Anna Peeters, Director, Institute for Health Transformation & Professor of Epidemiology and Equity in Public Health (Deakin University, AUS)
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