Edulia webinar on children and healthy eating – with video from the seminar

From top left Valérie Lengard Almli (Nofima, moderator), Nanna Lien (UiO), Ana Laura Velázquez (Edulia, Universidad de la República in Uruguay), mid row: Arnfinn Helleve (FHI, CO-Create), Paula Varela (Edulia, Nofima), Julia Sick (Edulia, University of Florence). Bottom row: Ervina (Edulia, Nofima), Martina Galler (Edulia, Nofima) and Annemarie Olsen (University of Copenhagen).

On February the 4th, Edulia organised a webinar on children and healthy eating in with invited speakers from the CO-Create project run by the  Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH),  the University of Oslo and the University of Copenhagen. In addition four of the EARLY STAGE RESEARCHERs presented their research. The webinar was divided into three sessions:

  1. Factors affecting children’s (healthy) diet.
  2. Co-creation with preadolescents and adolescents for a healthier diet
  3. Health and taste communication with and for children

Please look at this site for the full program. A video recording of the webinar can be found here  Moderators for the webinar were Valérie Lengard Almli and Ingunn Berget (Nofima), both WP-leaders in the Edulia project.

Session 1: Factors affecting children’s (healthy) diet

The first talk was given by Nanna Lien who is Professor in Public Health Nutrition at the Department of Nutrition, at the University of Oslo. Her Primary focus of research is on understanding dietary habits of adolescents and on developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions and policies to promote healthy eating. Her talk was entitled Social inequality in children’s eating habits and determinants in Norway. She concludes that even though reducing social inequality in diet is a main aim for public health policy in Norway, there is a lack of methodologically comparable evidence and the studies done, have been mostly at the intra- and interpersonal level despite agreement that social inequalities are likely due to social causation.

The next speaker was Ervina (Nofima) who is one of the early stage researchers in Edulia and a PhD student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Her research focus is on taste sensitivity and preferences in preadolescent children, and her presentation was entitled Investigating basic taste sensitivity and food liking in preadolescent children”. She concluded that there are many factors influencing children’s food liking, and taste sensitivity can be one of these factors.

The next speaker among the early stage researchers from the Edulia consortium was Julia Sick. She is affiliated at the University of Florence in Italy. The focus of her research is on the role of emotions, personality traits and sensory sensitivity in preadolescents’ food preferences. In her method-oriented presentation she shared her findings on the advantages of using emojis in questionnaires, and what to consider when using them.

Session 2: Co-creation with preadolescents and adolescents for a healthier diet

Arnfinn Helleve is researcher and Head of Centre for Evaluation of Public Health Measures at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). He is WP-leader in CO-Create and presented the process and challenges of creating novel health policies with adolescents across Europe. Arnfinn reported that to halt the growing obesity epidemic, the youngsters view as crucial: to better regulate marketing of unhealthy foods, to provide better food and nutrition education, to introduce a taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages and to organise free access to physical activities for all children and adolescents on a weekly basis.

Martina Galler (Nofima) is an early stage researcher in Edulia and PhD student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Martina’s work is focused on methodological aspects in sensory and consumer research with children. Her talk was entitled Co-creation of healthy food ideas with children”. Based on her research she concludes that involving children actively in new product development can help industries to develop healthier products that children choose and like, and at the same time could empower them to find their own way to pleasurable healthy eating.


Session 3: Health and taste communication with and for children

Ana Laura Velázquez is one of the early stage researchers in Edulia, at the Universidad de la República in Uruguay. She investigates strategies to reduce sugar in dairy products for children and apply several sensory methods to ensure that those products are still liked by children. She opened the last session, on health and taste communication. In her talk entitled Product extrinsic factors driving food choices in parents” she presented the findings from her research: extrinsic factors (e.g. messages on the pack) strongly influence parents’ healthiness perception and choice of products targeted at children. However, how each factor influences parents’ decisions vary greatly between individuals. These results stress the need to regulate the use of claims, cartoon characters and other persuasive elements on the food labels of products targeted at children.


The webinar ended with a presentation by Associate professor Annemarie Olsen from the University of Copenhagen. She presented results from the “Taste for Life” project established to foster an interdisciplinary collaboration with focus on the flavour of food as a driver for learning, education and good practice. The project had proved that changing eating behaviour in children can be attempted using many different perspectives, but they are not equally efficient. She also emphasised that communication to the general public is very important and may be overlooked or serve merely as an addendum in many projects.

After the presentations, there was an overall discussion bringing up topics and questions sent by participants through the chat. Around 90 people from academia and industry around the world participated in the webinar.



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