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

Alice Fabbri, Nicholas Chartres, Gyorgy Scrinis, Lisa A. Bero

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1306-1313
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume20
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

Keywords

  • Bias
  • Nutrition intervention
  • Obesity
  • Research agenda
  • Sponsorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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