WP3 – Diet, obesity and health across the life-course

Principal Investigators

Prof Patricia Kearney, Prof Ivan Perry, Dr Vera McCarthy, Dr Janas Harrington, Ms Janice Sweeney,Ms Amy O’Flynn, Ms Catherine Perry, Dr Tom O’Callaghan, Dr Anne-Marie O’Flynn,  Dr Tony Fitzgerald, Dr Mary Cahill, Dr Xia Lee, Dr Darren Dahly, Mr Jamie Madden, Dr Frances Shiely, Dr Tony Fitzgerald, Mr Sean Philips,  Ms Christina Dillon,Dr Catherine Philips, Dr John O’Donoghue, Prof Fergus Shanahan, Prof Joe Eustace.


To-date the consumer cognitive responses to food research group has concerned itself, primarily, with exploring the determinants of dietary choice and behaviour, using both qualitative and quantitative research approaches.  Qualitative data, collected on 5 cohorts, provided rich accounts of the psychological, social and environmental influences on food and situated consumption.  The life course approach, used to guide this qualitative work, offered insights regarding the experiences and food/lifestyle motivations of different groups at different points in their lives.  In addition four quantitative studies on the motives, attitudes and belief (on diet, food, obesity and policy) of a range of adult groups (older, obese and pregnant women cohorts and a nationally representative sample of Irish Adults) were also completed. These investigations measured psychosocial constructs such as: motivations and attitudes around healthy eating, attitudes towards obesity, perceived self-efficacy, monitoring, healthy eating identity, social influence, and social supports. In three studies, data are linked to behavioural, clinical and biomarker data. The fourth study involved a nationally representative sample and examined attitudes towards food, obesity and food policy interventions. For the next period we aim to complete a number of peer reviewed papers and conduct further analysis:

Specific Objectives:

  1. For an older Irish cohort explore the socio-demographic, health, lifestyle, attitudinal and motivational predictors of 1) poor diet 2) metabolic syndrome and 3) diabetes status.
  2. Examine the influence of psychological well-being and health behaviours on pregnancy outcomes.
  3. Investigate the determinants of citizen openness to food policy interventions. 

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