A call to action in review of the Australian Dietary Guidelines: Impacts of conflicting nutrition information: a mixed methods study

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Ngo, Lindsey
Lee, Jessica
Rutherford, Shannon
Phung, Hai
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ISSUES ADDRESSED: The overabundance of conflicting nutrition information (CNI) and accompanying confusion and backlash are a public health concern; however, the complexity of responses to CNI has yet to be explored. The following mixed methods study brings depth to the perceptions and behavioural responses to CNI among the Australian millennials to better inform successful nutrition guidelines. METHODS: An explanatory sequential mixed methods design explored the cognitive and behavioural responses to CNI in Australian millennials. Cross-sectional data (n=204) on CNI exposure, confusion, and backlash was analysed via multivariate ordinal logistic regression. The qualitative phase thematically analysed 18 semi-structured interviews on experiences with and responses to CNI. RESULTS: Exposure to CNI via social media was positively associated with confusion. Nutrition confusion was positively associated with backlash. Qualitative analysis confirmed social media as a frequent, yet sometimes trusted, source of CNI. Additionally, participants revealed using various methods to alleviate backlash while also relying heavily on traditional nutrition information (TNI) to inform dietary choices. CONCLUSIONS: The methods to alleviate nutrition backlash provide new and innovative ways to tailor nutrition messages for maximum impact. Nutrition promotion initiatives and dietary guidelines should consider the complexity of responses to CNI and modernise interventions across mediums, including social media, with clear and attractive dietary recommendations. SO WHAT?: Results can inform the drafting of the new Australian Dietary Guidelines in 2023 and how they are promoted to the community on an ongoing basis.

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Health Promotion Journal of Australia
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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2023 The Authors. Health Promotion Journal of Australia published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australian Health Promotion Association.
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Nutrition and dietetics
Health services and systems
Public health
health communication
health knowledge, attitudes, and practice
health promotion
nutrition confusion
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Ngo, L; Lee, J; Rutherford, S; Phung, H, A call to action in review of the Australian Dietary Guidelines: Impacts of conflicting nutrition information: a mixed methods study., Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2023