Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A blow for translational research – you eat what you (l)earn

Posted by Avril Rhodes and Mark Welford

Congratulations to CEDAR for making the National Diet and Nutrition Survey interesting and fully translated for ordinary people (muggles) like us. Take a look at the February CEDAR bulletin and the infographic illustrating what people eat proportionately more of by income and education, and we guarantee happy hours of wondering who fits into each box, whether the dietary stereotypes you held are correct or not, and dreaming up the ideal meal (culturally) for each sub-group. This is a wonderful case of the picture holding your attention so much more effectively than a written report would do on the same subject, and yet, the picture itself bringing together all kinds of data in one place. A challenge to academics – this is intellectually respectable enough for CEDAR, so what of your Fuse work would lend itself to the same treatment?

Food, income and education: who eats more of what? Foods appear only if they are consumed in quantities significantly greater than that of the UK population as a whole. 
And then you get to the fun part…..

• Fetch my gun, Jeeves. Clearly with all those game birds and smoothies being downed by the high income high education group there must be a new marketing opportunity for pheasant smoothies. Heston, move over!

• And what about the high income, medium education group, tucking into a hazelnut coated prawn or maybe fish rolled in sesame seeds? The boat certainly came in there.

• Having dinner with a professional footballer or Lord Alan Sugar? For the high income, lower education group save all your energies in the menu planning for the pudding – I’d recommend the most wine drenched trifle recipe you can find, or if it’s Christmas a boozy Christmas pudding would be just right.

• The middle of the chart – middle income and mid-range level of education are a real puzzle – average apparently for so much apart from the consumption of spirits and liqueurs, can anyone explain that?

• More tea vicar? The clergy must be in the low paid high educated square given the consumption of buns, cakes and pastries there, the staples of pastoral visits.

• And the Great British aversion to salad looks right.

And the more serious part…..

Some of our pre-conceived ideas are all too obviously supported from looking at the diagrams about consumption of processed meat products on lower incomes, and a greater variety and higher quality foods at the higher income end. As if we needed it another illustration of inequality in diet income related as much as anything else. Bring on the affordable healthy meal!
CEDAR has demonstrated that research findings don’t have to be hidden away in academic journals gathering dust. Research can be communicated in an interesting, engaging, innovative and exciting way. Along with the traditional methods of dissemination through papers, the media, research briefs, case studies, posters and presentations; how about making an impact using animation, podcasts, comics or even comedy?

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