Research has its greatest utility when it can be applied to address individual, societal, population and ecological problems. If you agree with this statement, then it is not unreasonable to assume that you would agree with Llanos et al.’s(1) proposition in this issue that the alignment of research priorities with the corresponding population burden of disease is desirable, to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of actions required to improve health. This paper contrasts the epidemiological profile of nine Latin American countries with the research priorities in academic institutions in each country and finds a misalignment between public health nutrition needs and research priorities. Their finding that studies on the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions were uncommon reinforces the ongoing challenge for public health nutrition researchers and practitioners to prioritise and provide this evidence through intervention research.
Haerens et al.(2) have responded to this challenge in their paper explaining the effect of a 1-year intervention promoting physical activity in middle schools, using mediation analysis.
Food diversity and neophobia affects dietary quality
Diversity in food consumption is widely recognised as an important predictor of dietary quality, particularly among indigenous peoples. In this issue, Roche et al.(3) assess the utility of a food diversity score for predicting nutrient adequacy among the Awajún culture of the Peruvian Amazon. At the other end of the diversity spectrum, Schickenberg et al.(4) explore the effect of food neophobia on acquaintance with and willingness to try healthful foods among Dutch consumers. It appears that lower educational attainment and opportunity is associated with greater neophobia in the context of healthful foods.
Yet another argument for breast-feeding promotion
Noor and Rousham(5) present results from a cross-sectional household survey of infant feeding and maternal well-being among women in north-east England of Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnicity. Their data suggest an important mediating role of breast-feeding in maternal mental health after childbirth, providing yet another good reason for promoting breastfeeding as the norm and proactively supporting this feeding choice among mothers.