Study by USC researcher in good taste

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Study by USC researcher in good taste


6 December 2012

6 December 2012

New University of the Sunshine Coast research is sure to find flavour with anyone who’s ever devoured a meal and wondered, “Now why did I eat that?”

Canadian dietitian Karen Birkenhead, who came to Australia this year to study a Master of Sports Nutrition at USC, said her research would be based on feedback to a survey open to the public until 17 December.

Ms Birkenhead, of Sunshine Beach, is a triathlete who has been training with top Sunshine Coast competitors and her study will compare the responses of triathletes with non-athletes.

“I want to examine why we eat what we eat,” she said. “Food choices may vary depending on age, gender, physical activity level or personal likes and dislikes.

“For example, many athletes think it’s important to eat foods high in carbohydrates for performance but others make choices based on their budgets or how quick something is to prepare before training.

“Developing a better understanding of what impacts on an athlete’s eating habits may create opportunities for encouraging meal plans that meet both their personal as well as sporting aspirations.”

The study, “Nutrition knowledge, food choice motives and eating behaviours” (ethics approval number S/12/433), is open to adults aged over 18 at

Ms Birkenhead said preliminary feedback was indicating that triathletes had high levels of both general education and nutritional knowledge.

She said she was delighted with her decision to study at USC, prompted after one of the University’s lecturers taught a nutrition workshop to dietitians in Canada.

Julie Schomberg

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