Faculty of Health

Volunteers needed for New Year eating study

The University of Tasmania is looking for volunteers for a new study into what helps people change their diet successfully.

At a time when many are trying to shed Christmas kilos and honour New Year’s healthy eating resolutions, the study looks into the effect that diet-related goals and more general goal-setting has on people’s eating habits. For example, if someone is looking to lose 15 kilos but has to balance their diet and exercise programs with looking after their children, how do these two goals align?

Faculty of Health Psychology researcher Dr Benjamin Schuez said the success of diet changes depended at least partly on how well new diet goals matched other goals in life.

“There is some exciting research on how personal goals, that is, the things we want to achieve, have the potential to facilitate or impede each other,” he said.

“What we want to find out in this study is how this applies to supporting people who might have to change their diets for medical reasons.

“We want to find out how people manage to follow different goals, how they manage to cope with conflicts between goals, and how they make use of one goal to achieve another personal goal.”

The study needs volunteers who are over 18 and have just started a diet or who are about to go on a diet.

Participants will be asked to carry a custom-programed mobile phone for two weeks to log their meal data. They will receive a $50 Coles Myer shopping card for their assistance.

While researchers won't be able to connect data with any one individual, the data of all participants will help researchers find out more about people’s eating habits.

“Ultimately, the idea is that if we know which factors facilitate following through on dieting goals, we can directly try to support these in interventions,” Dr Schuez said.

Those interested in participating can go to http://tiny.cc/dietgoals