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Initiating the PREPARED project: a digital dietary intervention for preconception young adults

The study aims to enhance preconception diet and dietary habits, with a future focus on the potential impact on pregnancy and newborn health.

Lorentz Salvesen

PhD Candidate

Lorentz Salvesen will defend the thesis “Initiating the PREPARED project: a digital dietary intervention for preconception young adults – protocol development, validation of dietary methods, and DOHaD knowledge-diet quality insights” 22 February 2024.

Summary of the thesis

The aim of this thesis was to develop and launch the PREPARED project, a new study focusing on young adults' diet and dietary habits before conception. This project addresses the importance of preconception diet, which is crucial for the health of prospective parents and their future children. Preconception in this context is defined as reproductive young adults from puberty to conception.

A total of four papers are included in the thesis.

First, the PREPARED project protocol for assessing a 6-month digital dietary intervention for preconception adults was established. This study, among the first of its kind, was structured to enable a comparison between a group receiving the intervention with a group not receiving the intervention. The study aims to enhance preconception diet and dietary habits, with a future focus on the potential impact on pregnancy and newborn health.

Second, tailored portion size images reflecting Norwegian food culture was developed to aid in accurate food quantity estimations. These images were used to estimate portion sizes of pre-weighed foods to assess their usability for this. Most of the images were effectively used by a sample of young adults to estimate portion sizes, an essential factor in assessing dietary intake.

Third, a short dietary screener questionnaire assessing diet quality was compared with a comprehensive dietary questionnaire. The results showed moderate-to-strong associations between the two questionnaires in a young student sample. This suggests that the short dietary screener questionnaire is a reliable substitute to a comprehensive dietary questionnaire to assess certain aspects of diet quality.

Finally, initial data from the PREPARED project showed that preconception young adults had moderate knowledge of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) theory and a suboptimal diet quality. A notable finding was the positive association between knowledge of DOHaD and diet quality, indicating that participants knowledge about DOHaD is related to their diet quality. 

In this thesis, a protocol for the PREPARED project was formulated, and two dietary assessment methods were evaluated. Preliminary findings from the PREPARED project suggests that knowledge about the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease theory among preconception young adults is related to their diet quality.

More information about time and place for the doctoral defense.