Study sponsorship and the nutrition research agenda: Analysis of cohort studies examining the association between nutrition and obesity

Alice Fabbri, Nicholas Chartres, Lisa A. Bero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (SciVal)


Objective To categorize the research topics covered by a sample of cohort studies exploring the association between nutrition and obesity; to describe their funding sources; and to explore the association between funding sources and research topics. Design Cross-sectional study. Subjects Cohort studies retrieved from MEDLINE and PubMed published between 2010 and 2016. Results One hundred and twenty-one studies were included. Funding source and conflicts of interest were disclosed in 95·0 and 90·1 % of the studies, respectively. Food industry sponsorship was disclosed in 8·3 % of the studies. Half of the studies analysed the consumption of a single food or food groups, 18·2 % included an analysis of dietary patterns and 17·4 % focused on specific nutrients. Highly processed foods were considered in 48·8 % of the studies and 27·3 % considered dietary behaviours (e.g. eating away from home). No statistically significant differences in research topics were observed between industry- and non-industry-funded studies. Conclusions Cohort studies focused on more complex exposures (e.g. food or dietary patterns) rather than single nutrients. No significant differences in the research agenda by funding sources were observed. The analysis was limited by the low proportion of studies with disclosed food industry sponsorship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3193-3199
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number17
Early online date30 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Bias
  • Obesity
  • Research agenda
  • Sponsorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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