Defence whets its appetite for healthy eating
15 July 2013
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is using social marketing tools for a study that could be used to improve the eating choices of Defence personnel.
Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said Defence personnel had physically demanding roles, so it was important they make wise food choices.
“This research will help determine if social marketing can be an effective tool in helping people to make those healthy decisions,” he said.
Social marketing is the use of traditional marketing techniques to promote socially beneficial behaviour.
Ms Julia Carins, a nutritionist at DSTO for more than 10 years, is conducting the research as part of her PhD studies atGriffithUniversity.
In coming months she will monitor cafeterias at Defence bases acrossQueenslandto better understand food choices. The information she gathers will inform what strategies Defence could put in place to encourage people to eat a healthier diet.
“It is still early days, but some of the strategies we might look at include making small changes to eating environments, combined with the development of engaging programs to encourage healthier eating,” she said.
Dr Zelinsky said social marketing showed great promise in being able to engender lasting behavioural change.
“Ms Carins’ research will determine just how Defence can apply social marketing techniques to improve the diet of our personnel,” he said.
Ms Carins has recently completed a comprehensive literature review of studies where social marketing has been used to address healthy eating. Her paper Eating for the better: A social marketing review has been accepted for publication in the journal Public Health Nutrition.
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