Special Issue "Nutrition, Diets and Public Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. med. Cem Ekmekcioglu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Health, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 15, A-1090 Austria
Interests: nutritional physiology; public health nutrition; evidence-based medicine; chronobiology
Assist. Prof. Mag. Dr. Petra Rust
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Interests: nutrition throughout the lifecycle; nutrition monitoring; public health nutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The cornerstones for good health are, primarily: Engaging in regular physical activity, not smoking and practicing a health-promoting eating pattern. Healthy nutrition and maintaining a normal body weight are very important for reducing the risk for cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus and certain cancers, in front those of the gut. On the other hand, several observational studies and meta-analyses have consistently shown that, for example, a high intake of red and processed meat can significantly increase the risk for these non-communicable diseases. In addition, not only too much, but also too little, e.g., an insufficient intake of certain food (groups), like vegetables and fruits, and essential nutrients, are well known to adversely impact our health. Therefore, humans should follow a balanced diet to ensure the adequate intake of health-promoting food components and, at the same time, avoid energy-dense and nutrient-poor foodstuff.

For this Special Issue on “Nutrition, Diets and Public Health,” we are interested in original research and all kinds of review articles studying or summarizing the effects and importance of nutrition on human health. The focus lies on human studies, with basic science investigations only welcomed if they are part of a human/clinical study. The topics we are interested are broad and include food, macronutrients or micronutrients and human health, the relationship between eating behaviors and chronic diseases, methods and efforts to improve healthy eating, nutritional assessments of food and nutrient intakes, human obesity, nutrition in the different stages of life, and, of course, highly up-to-date topics like salt, fructose or vitamin D and health.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. med. Cem Ekmekcioglu
Assist. Prof. Mag. Dr. Petra Rust
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nutrition
  • diet
  • food
  • nutrients
  • public health nutrition
  • chronic diseases
  • obesity
  • epidemiology
  • human studies
  • nutritional assessment
  • epigenetics

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Factors Influencing the Age of Complementary Feeding—A Cross-Sectional Study from Two European Countries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203799 - 09 Oct 2019
Abstract
The timing of introducing complementary feeding affects nutritional status and children’s health. The aim of this study was to determine sociodemographic and birth-related factors associated with the age of introducing complementary foods. This cross-sectional study investigated parents (n = 5815) of children [...] Read more.
The timing of introducing complementary feeding affects nutritional status and children’s health. The aim of this study was to determine sociodemographic and birth-related factors associated with the age of introducing complementary foods. This cross-sectional study investigated parents (n = 5815) of children aged 12–36 months from Poland (n = 4065) and Austria (n = 1750) using a single online questionnaire. During the study, detailed data about sociodemographic characteristics, variables related to pregnancy, and early feeding practices were collected. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to investigate factors associated with the introduction of complementary feeding before 4 completed months, between 4 and 6 months, and after 6 completed months separately for both countries. Complementary foods were introduced before 4 months in 3.0% of infants (2.4% in Poland and 4.3% in Austria), between 4 and 6 months in 65.0% (60.5% in Poland and 75.3% in Austria), and after 6 completed months in 32.1% of infants (37.1% in Poland and 20.4% in Austria). The factors related to earlier introduction of complementary feeding were lower maternal age (in Austria 25–29 years: aOR 2.21 (95% CI 1.06–4.65)) and education level (in Poland and Austria primary and vocational: aOR 14.49 (95% CI 3.73–56.35), aOR 2.13 (95% CI 1.10–4.11), respectively), preterm birth (in Poland and Austria: aOR 10.21 (95% CI 5.73–18.20); aOR 4.45 (95% CI 2.42–8.18), respectively), never breastfeeding (Poland: aOR 2.73 (95% CI 1.29 – 5.76)) and receiving an infant formula after hospital discharge (in both countries: aOR 3.73 (95% CI 2.06–6.75); aOR 3.65 (95% CI 1.87–7.12), respectively). These factors should be taken into account by health professionals in identifying mothers who are least likely to follow nutritional recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
Sociodemographic, Lifestyle, Environmental and Pregnancy-Related Determinants of Dietary Patterns during Pregnancy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050754 - 02 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Characterization of dietary patterns represents a valid and meaningful measure of overall diet quality and nutrient intake. The study aims at evaluating the sociodemographic, lifestyle, environmental, and pregnancy-related determinants of maternal dietary patterns during pregnancy. Methods: The analysis was conducted on a [...] Read more.
Background: Characterization of dietary patterns represents a valid and meaningful measure of overall diet quality and nutrient intake. The study aims at evaluating the sociodemographic, lifestyle, environmental, and pregnancy-related determinants of maternal dietary patterns during pregnancy. Methods: The analysis was conducted on a group of pregnant women from the Polish Mother and Child Cohort (REPRO_PL). During the second trimester of pregnancy, 1306 women filled in a modified version of the validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Dietary patterns were estimated using an exploratory factor analysis. Potential dietary determinants were assessed via a questionnaire or biomarker measurements (saliva cotinine level). Results: Two dietary patterns were identified. The Prudent dietary pattern was characterized by high consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, poultry, and low-fat dairy products, while the Western dietary pattern included high intake of refined grains, processed meat, potatoes, and very low intake of whole grains. Clear sociodemographic, environmental, lifestyle, and pregnancy-related determinants of diet quality were established. Older age (β = 0.2; p < 0.01), higher educational level (β = 0.3; p < 0.01), and socioeconomic status (SES) (β = 0.2; p < 0.01), overweight/obesity before (β = 0.3; p < 0.01), as well as physical activity during pregnancy (β = 0.2; p = 0.01) were positive determinants of a healthier diet (increasing Prudent–Western difference in dietary pattern scores). On the other hand, parity (β = −0.2; p = 0.04) and living in small cities (β = −0.3; p = 0.02) were significantly related to a rather Western dietary pattern. Conclusions: The current study presents evidence on specific factors influencing dietary patterns. They need to be accounted for in educational programs and interventions focused on healthy diet recommendations during pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
Prevalence of Dietary Behavior and Determinants of Quality of Diet among Beneficiaries of Government Welfare Assistance in Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030501 - 11 Feb 2019
Abstract
Diet, as a modifiable factor for good health maintenance, reduces the risk of numerous non-communicable chronic diseases and prevents premature death. The aim of the study was to examine the prevalence of a dietary behavior and to find out what the determinants of [...] Read more.
Diet, as a modifiable factor for good health maintenance, reduces the risk of numerous non-communicable chronic diseases and prevents premature death. The aim of the study was to examine the prevalence of a dietary behavior and to find out what the determinants of diet quality among the low socio-economic status population are. The studied sample consisted of 1710 respondents. Only 3% of the beneficiaries had healthy dietary habits. Unhealthy dietary habits dominated in all the study group regardless of the subjects’ level of education (p < 0.001). Higher odds of unhealthy dietary habits were reported among the respondents with primary, vocational, and secondary education than among the respondents with high education (for the primary education OR = 11.10; 95% CI: 5.86–21.01; p ≤ 0.001; for vocational education OR = 10.54; 95% CI: 5.79–19.18; p ≤ 0.001 and for secondary education OR = 5.83; 95% CI: 3.48–9.79; p ≤ 0.001). The unhealthy dietary behavior prevalence among beneficiaries of government welfare assistance in Poland is much higher than in the general population. Since only educational level is a determinant which is significantly correlated with the unhealthy dietary behavior, promotion of a healthy diet among disadvantaged individuals should be focused on this factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Association Between the 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Status and Physical Performance in Healthy Recreational Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2724; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122724 - 03 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Molecular and clinical studies have linked vitamin D (vitD) deficiency to several aspects of muscle performance. For this retrospective cross-sectional study data from 297 male (M) and 284 female (F) healthy recreational athletes were used to evaluate the prevalence of vitD deficiency in [...] Read more.
Molecular and clinical studies have linked vitamin D (vitD) deficiency to several aspects of muscle performance. For this retrospective cross-sectional study data from 297 male (M) and 284 female (F) healthy recreational athletes were used to evaluate the prevalence of vitD deficiency in athletes living in Austria and to determine whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) correlates with maximal (Pmax) and submaximal physical performance (Psubmax) measured on a treadmill ergometer. The data were controlled for age, season, weekly training hours (WTH), body mass index (BMI) and smoking status. 96 M and 75 F had 25(OH)D levels ≤ 20 ng/mL. 25(OH)D levels showed seasonal variations, but no seasonal differences in Pmax and Psubmax were detected. M with 25(OH)D levels ≤ 20 ng/mL had significantly lower Psubmax (p = 0.045) than those with normal levels. In F no significant differences in Pmax or Psubmax were detected. Stepwise multiple regression analysis including all covariates revealed significant correlations between 25(OH)D levels and Pmax (β = 0.138, p = 0.003) and Psubmax (β = 0.152, p = 0.002) in M. Interestingly, for F significant correlations between 25(OH)D and both Pmax and Psubmax disappeared after adding WTH to the model. In conclusion, our data suggest that 25(OH)D status is associated with physical performance especially in M, while in F, WTH and BMI seem to affect the correlation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Intake of Saturated Fatty Acids Affects Atherogenic Blood Properties in Young, Caucasian, Overweight Women Even without Influencing Blood Cholesterol
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2530; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112530 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Despite a general relation between fat intake and cardiovascular risk factors, the association is often not observed in studies conducted in heterogenic populations, as for population groups, it may differ. The aim of the study was to analyze the associations between dietary fat [...] Read more.
Despite a general relation between fat intake and cardiovascular risk factors, the association is often not observed in studies conducted in heterogenic populations, as for population groups, it may differ. The aim of the study was to analyze the associations between dietary fat intake and lipoprotein cholesterol fractions, as well as atherogenic blood properties, in young and middle-aged overweight Caucasian women. In a group of 138 overweight women, the three-day dietary records were assessed, under-reporters were excluded, and lipoprotein cholesterol fractions were analyzed. For the included 24 young (aged 20–40) and 42 middle-age women (aged 40–60), the intakes of fat, saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and cholesterol, as well as the PUFA/SFA ratio, were assessed. Afterwards, the analysis of associations with blood levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglyceride, as well as the TC/HDL ratio, HDL/LDL, ratio and Atherogenic Index of Plasma (AIP), were conducted. It was stated that the influence of the dietary fat level on lipoprotein cholesterol fractions as well as atherogenic blood properties in overweight Caucasian women is age dependent. For young, overweight, Caucasian women, the influence of the dietary fat level on the lipoprotein cholesterol fractions was not observed; however, SFA intake influenced atherogenic blood properties. For middle-aged, overweight, Caucasian women, the PUFA intake had an especially important influence in increasing the HDL cholesterol level. For overweight Caucasian women, not only should lipoprotein cholesterol fractions be controlled, but also the AIP calculated—especially for younger women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Rapid Weight Loss and Dietary Inadequacies among Martial Arts Practitioners from Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112476 - 06 Nov 2018
Abstract
Healthy nutrition and maintaining a normal body weight are very important for reducing the risk of various diseases not only among the general population, but also among athletes, especially combat sport athletes. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of [...] Read more.
Healthy nutrition and maintaining a normal body weight are very important for reducing the risk of various diseases not only among the general population, but also among athletes, especially combat sport athletes. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of rapid weight loss (RWL) and to indicate eventual dietary inadequacies among professional martial arts practitioners. Sixty-two male athletes (aged: 23 ± 4) completed a questionnaire (i.e., frequency of food group consumption, questions about training and RWL) and single 24-h dietary recall. This study confirmed the high prevalence of RWL in athletes (58%) for two to three days before the competition, which allowed for reduction of 3.4 ± 1.0 kg (4.3 ± 1.5%) of their body weight. Many dietary inaccuracies were found such as: lower than recommended by nutrition experts, level of consumption of dairy products, grain products, fruit, and vegetables, and insufficient intake of energy, carbohydrates, minerals (especially iodine, potassium, calcium) and vitamins (especially D, folate, C, E) during the training day. Adequate nutrition is a natural support for the whole training process, and may allow for regulation of body weight in a longer period and in a safer manner; thus, there is a need for nutrition education dedicated to athletes and their trainers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Intensity of Energy Drink Use Plus Alcohol Predict Risky Health Behaviours among University Students in the Caribbean
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2429; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112429 - 01 Nov 2018
Abstract
The relationship between energy drink (ED) use and risky behaviours has not been explored in the Caribbean, where youth risky behaviours are prevalent. This paper examines the relationship between ED use and risky behaviours and the moderating effect of gender among 1994 undergraduate [...] Read more.
The relationship between energy drink (ED) use and risky behaviours has not been explored in the Caribbean, where youth risky behaviours are prevalent. This paper examines the relationship between ED use and risky behaviours and the moderating effect of gender among 1994 undergraduate students in Trinidad and Tobago. Analyses examined the association between ED use and risky behaviours, and the significant predictors of risky behaviours. Analysis of variance determined whether there were differences in risky behaviours between those who used only alcohol or EDs, both alcohol and EDs, alcohol mixed with EDs and neither alcohol nor EDs; and the difference between those with high and low intensity of ED use. In both males and females current use of energy drinks was positively associated with harmful substance use, risky sexual behaviours, and risky non-sexual behaviours, more strongly for males. The strongest predictor of risky behaviours was gender. Males consuming both alcohol and EDs, independently or mixed, were most likely to have risky behaviours. Consistent with previous reports, harmful alcohol use and other risk taking health behaviours appear to be predicted by a combination of high intensity use of EDs and alcohol. In countries like Trinidad and Tobago where violence, alcohol use disorders, STI/HIV infection and teenaged pregnancy are prevalent, the assessment of consumption of EDs and alcohol may be an important potential predictor of health compromising behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle
To Buy or Not to Buy? Consumer Attitudes and Purchase Intentions for Suboptimal Food
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1431; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071431 - 06 Jul 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Food system and food safety have drawn spontaneous global attention due to the effect of substantial environmental concerns. Three billion tons of food are wasted every year, estimated as being a third of all produced food. The production of much of this waste [...] Read more.
Food system and food safety have drawn spontaneous global attention due to the effect of substantial environmental concerns. Three billion tons of food are wasted every year, estimated as being a third of all produced food. The production of much of this waste is directly linked to the unwillingness to sell, purchase, and consume suboptimal food that have deviated from regular products in terms of appearance standards, date labeling, or damaged packaging. Yet empirical research on this issue is scarce. This study aims to develop an extended Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) research model, which includes environmental concern and sensory appeal to predict consumers’ purchase intention to suboptimal foods. A total of 539 respondents collected in Taiwan as data input. The empirical results of structural equation modeling (SEM) indicate that consumers’ attitude was the main predictor of their intention to purchase suboptimal foods. Interestingly, this research showed that both perceived behavioral control and subjective norms were not significant predictors of intention. Furthermore, adding environmental concern and sensory appeal as the additional constructs to the TPB significantly increased the explanatory power of the standard model. These findings provide important insights for suboptimal food and useful recommendations for marketing channels, suggesting that promotion of suboptimal food may be the key to potential business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Mediterranean Diet: From an Environment-Driven Food Culture to an Emerging Medical Prescription
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(6), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16060942 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
The Mediterranean diet originates in the food cultures of ancient civilizations which developed around the Mediterranean Basin and is based on the regular consumption of olive oil (as the main source of added fat), plant foods (cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, tree nuts, and [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean diet originates in the food cultures of ancient civilizations which developed around the Mediterranean Basin and is based on the regular consumption of olive oil (as the main source of added fat), plant foods (cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, tree nuts, and seeds), the moderate consumption of fish, seafood, and dairy, and low-to-moderate alcohol (mostly red wine) intake, balanced by a comparatively limited use of red meat and other meat products. A few decades ago, the Mediterranean diet drew the attention of medical professionals by proving extended health benefits. The first reports ascertained cardiovascular protection, as multiple large-scale clinical studies, starting with Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study, showed a marked reduction of atherosclerotic clinical events in populations with a Mediterranean dietary pattern. Ensuing trials confirmed favorable influences on the risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. While its health benefits are universally recognized today by medical professionals, the present state of the Mediterranean diet is challenged by major difficulties in implementing this protective dietary pattern in other geographical and cultural areas and keeping it alive in traditional Mediterranean territories, also tainted by the unhealthy eating habits brought by worldwide acculturation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition, Diets and Public Health)
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