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FFQs are a popular method of capturing dietary information in epidemiological studies and may be used to derive dietary exposures such as nutrient intake or overall dietary patterns and diet quality. As FFQs can involve large numbers of questions, participants may fail to respond to all questions, leaving researchers to decide how to deal with missing data when deriving intake measures. The aim of the present commentary is to discuss the current practice for dealing with item non-response in FFQs and to propose a research agenda for reporting and handling missing data in FFQs.
Single imputation techniques, such as zero imputation (assuming no consumption of the item) or mean imputation, are commonly used to deal with item non-response in FFQs. However, single imputation methods make strong assumptions about the missing data mechanism and do not reflect the uncertainty created by the missing data. This can lead to incorrect inference about associations between diet and health outcomes. Although the use of multiple imputation methods in epidemiology has increased, these have seldom been used in the field of nutritional epidemiology to address missing data in FFQs. We discuss methods for dealing with item non-response in FFQs, highlighting the assumptions made under each approach.
Researchers analysing FFQs should ensure that missing data are handled appropriately and clearly report how missing data were treated in analyses. Simulation studies are required to enable systematic evaluation of the utility of various methods for handling item non-response in FFQs under different assumptions about the missing data mechanism.
To assess agreement among three nutrient profiling systems used to evaluate the healthfulness of vending machine products in recreation and sport settings in three Canadian provinces. We also assessed whether the nutritional profile of vending machine items in recreation and sport facilities that were adhering to nutrition guidelines (implementers) was superior to that of facilities that were not (non-implementers).
Trained research assistants audited the contents of vending machines. Three provincial nutrient profiling systems were used to classify items into each province’s most, moderately and least healthy categories. Agreement among systems was assessed using weighted κ statistics. ANOVA assessed whether the average nutritional profile of vending machine items differed according to province and guideline implementation status.
Eighteen recreation and sport facilities in three Canadian provinces. One-half of facilities were implementing nutrition guidelines.
Snacks (n 531) and beverages (n 618) within thirty-six vending machines were audited.
Overall, the systems agreed that the majority of items belonged within their respective least healthy categories (66–69 %) and that few belonged within their most healthy categories (14–22 %). Agreement among profiling systems was moderate to good, with κw values ranging from 0·49 to 0·69. Implementers offered fewer of the least healthy items (P<0·05) and these items had a better nutritional profile compared with items in non-implementing facilities.
The policy outcomes of the three systems are likely to be similar, suggesting there may be scope to harmonize nutrient profiling systems at a national level to avoid unnecessary duplication and support food reformulation by industry.
Little is known about how public entities can partner with industry to achieve public health goals. We investigated industry's perspective of factors that influenced their adoption and implementation of voluntary, government-issued nutrition guidelines (Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth, ANGCY) in recreational facilities.
In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted. Data were analysed using directed content analysis.
Food services in recreational facilities.
Seven managers from industry participated; five from companies that had adopted and implemented the ANGCY (adopters) in recreational facilities and two from companies that had not (non-adopters).
Industry views nutrition guidelines through the lens of profitability. Non-adopters were unwilling to implement the ANGCY for fear of sacrificing short-term profitability, whereas adopters adhered to them in an attempt to position themselves for long-term profitability. Adopters faced barriers including few resources, no training, complex guidelines, low availability of and demand for ANGCY-compliant products, competitive pressures and substantial declines in revenue. Managers believed widespread voluntary adoption of the ANGCY was unlikely without government incentives and/or a mandate, as the environmental context for voluntary action was poor. All managers supported government-mandated implementation of the ANGCY to level the playing field upon which companies compete.
Public–private partnerships in recreational facilities can embrace public health goals in the short term, provided industry perceives potential for long-term financial gain. Widespread uptake of voluntary nutrition guidelines in this setting is unlikely, however, as market mechanisms do not encourage industry to sell and promote healthier options. Government legislation may therefore be warranted.
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