Nutrition Scientist Stacey Lockyer has been working for the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) for more than five years. The BNF was established as a charity in 1967 with the objective to advance the education of the public in nutrition including those involved in training and education of others in nutrition as well as to advance nutrition research for the public benefit. In this interview we spoke to Stacey about how BNF helps consumers to make better food choices.
Stacey, how is BNF contributing to future generations eating healthier and more sustainable?
BNF’s mission is to translate evidence-based nutrition science in engaging and actionable ways. In practice this means we communicate in a variety of ways for example via our website, social media, the press and through our relationships with policymakers, schools, health professionals and the food industry. Our Food – a fact of life program is a comprehensive, progressive education program developed by former teachers and nutritionists which communicates up-to-date, evidence-based, consistent and accurate messages around ‘food’ (including cooking, nutrition and health and food production and processing) to all those involved in education. It ensures that teachers and pupils aged from 3-16 years have the opportunity to use the most innovative, effective, up-to-date and age-appropriate resources available, while also providing advice on children's dietary requirements and provision of food throughout the school day.
You are currently working on the EIT-funded project ‘Health Claims Unpacked’ investigating the communication of health claims. What exactly is the objective and what are you looking for?
The aim of the project is to understand how consumers interpret and respond to health claims on food packaging. The main element is a digital toolkit - a website (currently available in English, with German, Polish and French versions launching later this year) which uses activities to gather valuable information on how consumers from different backgrounds understand health claims and how these claims affect their willingness to purchase particular products. The project is in its second year and we are currently looking to speak to food and drink manufacturers in the UK, Germany, France and Poland about their experiences with using health claims and how the information generated from the project may be useful to them.
BNF is also running Nutrition.training - what is its purpose?
Nutrition.training offers courses covering a range of topics from the basics of nutrition to more complex information for professionals such as complementary feeding and obesity; dietary fibre and digestive health for healthcare professionals and low-calorie sweeteners. The courses are written by nutrition experts and qualified teachers and allow learners to go at their own pace. As part of our ‘lockdown’ learning offering, we gave away free courses to 7.281 individuals across April and May this year.
How does healthy nutrition contribute to our future?
I am passionate about reducing socioeconomic inequalities in dietary intake since these can have a huge impact on health and are unfair and avoidable. Our vision is that everyone can access healthy, sustainable diets and we try to ensure that our information and advice are practical for as many people as possible.
You are an associate editor at Nutrition Bulletin. What should we know about the journal?
Our international peer-reviewed journal, Nutrition Bulletin, publishes concise and informative articles about recent developments and current thinking in human nutrition science. With a broad global readership, the journal provides an interface between stakeholders in universities, industry, government, research, healthcare, education and media. We encourage submissions from all over the world and following Wiley’s 2019 agreement with Projekt DEAL, many institutions in Germany can now access all Wiley journals and authors are not charged open-access fees so it’s worth checking your eligibility.
What is a favorite article from the journal, an article that fascinates you or one that initiated a change?
I think that papers written by our BNF Drummond Early Career Scientist Award winners are particularly impressive. A good example is ‘Diet-derived microbial metabolites in health and disease’ a review by Henrik Roager, which is a very clear summary of a complex, topical area.
What is nutrition in one sentence?
Nutrition is central to health, therefore our understanding of nutrition science is crucial.
Do you have a role model and how does this role model inspire you?
Our Science Director, Sara Stanner inspires me with her drive, knowledge and expertise, integrity, understanding of the needs of different audiences and above all her passion for nutrition science. It is important that nutrition experts are really good at communicating accurate and accessible nutrition science to consumers in appealing formats. It is key in order to set the record straight among a sea of misinformation, to help the average person to make sense of it all and ultimately provide them with useful tools to make healthier choices and live healthier lives
Get in touch with Stacey Lockyer via LinkedIn and get to know more about her work for the British Nutrition Foundation, the international peer-reviewed journal Nutrition Bulletin and the Health Claims Unpacked project.
This interview was carried out by Dr. Simone K Frey