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Public Health Nutr. 2017 May;20(7):1306-1313. doi: 10.1017/S1368980016003128. Epub 2016 Dec 19.

Study sponsorship and the nutrition research agenda: analysis of randomized controlled trials included in systematic reviews of nutrition interventions to address obesity.

Author information

1
1Centre of Research in Medical Pharmacology,University of Insubria,Varese,Italy.
2
2Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Pharmacy,The University of Sydney,Camperdown NSW 2006,Australia.
3
3Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences,The University of Melbourne,Parkville,VIC,Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To categorize the research topics covered by a sample of randomized controlled trials (RCT) included in systematic reviews of nutrition interventions to address obesity; to describe their funding sources; and to explore the association between funding sources and nutrition research topics.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SUBJECTS:

RCT included in Cochrane Reviews of nutrition interventions to address obesity and/or overweight.

RESULTS:

Two hundred and thirteen RCT from seventeen Cochrane Reviews were included. Funding source and authors' conflicts of interest were disclosed in 82·6 and 29·6 % of the studies, respectively. RCT were more likely to test an intervention to manipulate nutrients in the context of reduced energy intake (44·2 % of studies) than food-level (11·3 %) and dietary pattern-level (0·9 %) interventions. Most of the food industry-sponsored studies focused on interventions involving manipulations of specific nutrients (66·7 %). Only 33·1 % of the industry-funded studies addressed dietary behaviours compared with 66·9 % of the non-industry-funded ones (P=0·002). The level of food processing was poorly considered across all funding sources.

CONCLUSIONS:

The predominance of RCT examining nutrient-specific questions could limit the public health relevance of rigorous evidence available for systematic reviews and dietary guidelines.

KEYWORDS:

Bias; Nutrition intervention; Obesity; Research agenda; Sponsorship

PMID:
27989264
DOI:
10.1017/S1368980016003128
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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