Webinar Review: Using the Eatwell Guide as an effective tool for communicating nutrition

By Nutritank Writing Team

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In a recent Nutritank webinar titled ‘Using the Eatwell Guide as an effective tool for communicating nutrition’, David Titman, registered nutritionist and food scientist with multinational experience in advising the food sector, delves into the history of nutrition guidelines in the UK and across the world, and what the future might hold for them.

On the surface, the Eatwell guide may seem straightforward, but how much do we really know about how to communicate this information to people, and how relevant is it to every patient or client group? Our expert speaker, David, provides a history of the evolution of our Eatwell guide from past developments such as the Eatwell plate and the balance of good health, as well as comparing to the guidelines of other countries. Nutrition based research is constantly evolving, thus guidelines are changing with them. David discusses the impact of these changes and increasingly important considerations such as the integration of environmental impacts of our diet. The process of developing dietary guidelines such as the Eatwell guide is explained, with factors to consider being:

  • What level of health should dietary guidelines support?
  • What level of challenge are people willing to accept?
  • What additional factors need to be considered?
  • Are all relevant food cultures appropriately accommodated?

With these factors in mind, we can begin to see the complexity of these guidelines including the nuance of what is considered an acceptable level of health for the guidelines to be suitable for. An interesting point arises when considering what level of dietary ‘challenge’ people are willing to work towards, as there is evidence that if you make the goal too different from people’s norm, they are less willing to take on the advice and people may disengage. To maximise effectiveness of dietary guidelines, one must check initial perceptions of knowledge, highlight most salient points, ensure relevance, and have strategies to facilitate change. A key point is raised that it takes time to distribute guidelines, and there have been difficulties getting the public to notice changes between the previous Eatwell plate and the modern Eatwell guide, and the outdated guidelines have still been found in hospitals and in schools. The principles of behaviour change are noted as an important factor in getting people on board with dietary changes. The webinar wraps up with some interesting debates and discussion around what the existing obstacles exist in our society to healthy eating, and exploring we can expand advice from the Eatwell guide.

To learn more and watch the full webinar here.

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