Soon after I began to study nutritional sciences in Vienna, Austria, in the early nineties, I experienced something that every nutritionist or dietician certainly has experienced. I was bombarded with questions related to eating and drinking from family members, friends, neighbours and others: ‘Which diet should I follow to lose some weight?’; ‘Why is too much salt bad for me?’; ‘Should I prefer skimmed milk or avoid milk at all?’; ‘What should I eat to be more competitive in sports?’ and so on.
I certainly did not know the answers at that time and I am not sure if I, or we, the nutrition community, have the ‘right’ answers to such popular questions now. Even if we have an answer, we have a lot of trouble to communicate these answers to the public in a comprehensive manner for a number of reasons. It matters that the public is properly informed about nutrition, and it is vital that nutrition information is not contradictory and that it is congruent with research findings. Associations like ours are contributing to ‘align’ research findings and translating them for a wider audience. That is one of the reasons why I am in research now, for I would like to have an answer to questions related to food and nutrition. Why have I joined the Association? Because it is more effective to communicate ‘right’ answers not so much to individuals, but to the population at large.
My most recent publications are dealing with mass media nutrition information sources and associations with fruit and vegetable consumption (published in Public Health Nutrition, 2009). A paper on nutrient patterns among 10 European countries has recently been submitted, and we are currently preparing a paper on weight status related underreporting using different dietary assessment methods.