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Optimising Nutritional Health and Wellbeing Through Local Sustainable Food Systems -NuFEAST (Nutrition - Food (for) Everyone's health, Available, Sustainable and Trusted)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NuFEAST (Optimising Nutritional Health and Wellbeing Through Local Sustainable Food Systems -NuFEAST (Nutrition - Food (for) Everyone's health, Available, Sustainable and Trusted))

Reporting period: 2015-09-02 to 2017-09-01

Food is essential for life and health, but the long term adequacy of our food supply is under threat due to a confluence of many economic, cultural and environmental factors, resulting from increased globalization and industrialisation. Recent decades have seen trends towards less sustainable and nutritionally adequate diets, with EU citizens consuming too much energy, fat, sugar and salt1. Of the six WHO regions, Europe has experienced an unprecedented rise in obesity and is the most severely affected by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including type 2 diabetes, food-related cancer, cardiovascular disease2. Localisation of sustainable food systems is a possible means to achieve positive health and environmental outcomes, and local and regional policy makers have been urged to work with urban populations to develop food systems which meet their needs. Solutions based on complete environmental changes, such as the UK Sustainable Food Cities Partnerships have gained support because of the significant array of benefits they offer for society – healthier local economies, reduced food wastage and pollution and potentially health benefits. However, there is a need to develop new research approaches to identify how these, and other initiatives, can promote nutritional well-being, to shape future nutrition and food policy and to document the new skills required by the public health nutrition workforce to support and foster healthy diets through local food systems.
The key objectives of this research were i) a Toolkit for monitoring and optimising gains in nutritional health and well-being and ii) a set of new Guidelines to deliver new competencies for the public health nutrition workforce. This knowledge will contribute towards shaping future policy directions in food and nutrition for the EU citizen.
The NuFEAST Research Project has five outputs which build on each other in order to produce the two major outputs the Teaching Toolkit and Guidelines (WP 4 & 5)
(WP1) Establish a baseline description of current community engagement with local, sustainable food systems (quantitative research - structured questionnaire).
Structured questionnaire developed, distributed (1000 respondents) analysed.
(WP2) Establish the baseline barriers and enablers for engagement with local sustainable food systems (qualitative research – focus groups).
Two major reports completed from this phase of research with research article under consideration for publication currently.
(WP3) Create a model of nutritional health and well-being connecting knowledge and understanding of good food/local food with nutritional health (qualitative research – ethnography, semi-structured interviews).
Model of nutritional health and wellbeing created and developed from qualitative research data
(WP4) Produce a Toolkit to optimise and monitor nutritional wellbeing and Guidelines to identify for the public health nutrition workforce to contribute to building nutritional wellbeing through a local sustainable food system (consolidation of research data analysis).
Toolkit and guidelines created and piloted on local food/nutrition business
(WP5) Disseminate the findings to share new knowledge, Toolkit and Guidelines (dissemination plan).
Dissemination has occurred throughout the project including UK based meetings and attendance at national public health conferences and seminars in New Zealand and Australia. Dissemination will continue with the publication of two papers reporting on the qualitative and quantitative research elements.


NuFEAST addresses the public health problems in the UK through a public health approach, by firstly optimising the expertise of those who do eat well and who care about food and have attained high levels of food expertise in their own environments. In both rural and urban environments people growing food, prioritising fresh food and sharing food expertise contributed to this project.
The definition of “Food Wellbeing” created through this study is as follows:

Food Wellbeing is possible when the following connections with food are present:
• Planet: An appreciation of where all food comes from and an understanding about how food choices impact on overall global sustainability; an environment which offers opportunities for personal connection to planet through food practices.
• People: A local living environment, which includes a food culture that enables the average a person to consistently source quality local food; A food culture including an appreciation of how food choices impact on the community and others. An environment which offers a connection to others through shared and understood food practices.
• Person: A sound practical understanding of how to maximise quality and trusted fresh food in the diet, along with growing / trading /purchase / preparation knowledge about fresh food and trusted food sources, with skills that support related habitual behaviour. These food practices being recognised as “normal” in that environment.
Research has informed the development of a Teaching Tool and Guidelines. (https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/project/nufeast-nutritional-well-being-and-growing-food/).

These Guidelines and the Toolkit (Teaching Tool) offer a new innovative approach for knowledge transfer about food in relation to health and wellbeing. The toolkit provides a prompt for thinking about all the other aspects food does to enhance personal health and wellbeing and community and societal health and wellbeing. This Toolkit is informed by research carried out with committed people in the UK who are working towards a positive food future. Hard work and commitment and a search for knowledge were their tools – not great wealth and endless choice.

This Toolkit provides a way in which all or any part of this system can be broadly assessed in a way which can enable an understanding of its contribution to or detraction from food wellbeing. This is based on an assessment process described as a True Value Analysis (TVA). Using this TVA assessment process, which includes a comprehensive suite of values derived from and supported by the research around the healthy food / human health / sustainability challenge, the assessment uses analysis tables to determine the relative value of how food is sourced, used or disposed of for all points of the food lifecycle compass.

This Toolkit can be used by anyone who has an interest in teaching about food and in its current form is suitable for adults. It has also been adapted to also have relevance for upper primary and secondary education, to enable participants, at their relative levels, to gain an overall understanding of what comprises the broad values in a positive food culture that can promote Food Wellbeing. Further research needs to evaluate the implementation and the toolkit to understand how it can be used and its potential to impact on the individual to make positive changes to influence and improve their health and wellbeing.
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