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Smartphone users needed for nutrition trial

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An exciting five-week study on nutrition labelling is underway at the National Institute for Health Innovation at the University of Auckland.

More than 200 people are taking part, but there are still spaces available, and the ‘Starlight’ study team is looking for more volunteers.

The Starlight trial uses smartphone technology to deliver the study intervention and record participant information, so there are no clinic appointments to attend and adults from all over New Zealand can take part.

Lead researcher Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu says, "Poor diets and obesity are leading risk factors for ill-health in New Zealand. Nutrition labels inform consumers about the composition of foods and can support healthier choices, but many people find current nutrition labels hard to understand."

"New front-of-pack labels deliver simple, ‘at-a-glance’ nutrition information to buyers. Our aim is to see if these labels have an effect on the healthiness of foods bought by New Zealand shoppers," she says.

"We are very happy with our progress so far," says Professor Ni Mhurchu. "People are excited about taking part in our study - we had over 100 responses in the first week. Healthy diet is clearly an important topic for many New Zealand families."

Following completion of a brief online screening questionnaire, eligible participants are given access to a study-specific smartphone application (app). The interactive app guides participants through all stages of the study, from registration to final data collection.

The app enables completion of study questionnaires, delivery of the allocated nutrition labels (participants scan barcodes of food products to view the nutrition labels on their smartphone screen), collection and transmission of food purchasing data, and delivers regular reminder messages.

Study participants receive up to $90 worth of vouchers in appreciation of their efforts. Anyone interested in taking part in the study should complete the brief screening questionnaire to find out if they are eligible:

Volunteers can also contact Dr Katya Volkova with any questions about on the study, on (09) 923 4742, or via email:

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