Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health

Energy balance, food choice and nutrition education

    Energy balance, food choice and nutrition education

    The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adults is a major public health challenge in the UK and worldwide. Obesity is a complex disorder influenced by many factors involving both the individual and wider environment.

    The central factor in the development of obesity is sustained positive energy imbalance i.e. the energy consumed from food is greater than the energy expended in physical activity.

    Our current research investigates the factors that affect the amount of food that an individual consumes, including: portion size; energy density; and, satiety. We also measure physical activity using questionnaires and accelerometers.

    Past and present studies have utilised the residential facilities in the Human Intervention Studies Unit (HISU). The HISU also includes state-of-the-art body composition facilities: BOD POD; and, Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA). Past research has also included the development of two interactive learning CD-ROMs "Dish-it-up!" aimed at 11 to 12 year olds and "Taste Buds" aimed at primary school children. The CD-ROMs were designed to promote healthy eating and physical activity among school aged children.

    Contact: Professor MBE Livingstone: mbe.livingstone@ulster.ac.uk