Research Paper On Healthy Eating Habits

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Collection Of Great Topics To Explore In A Research Paper On Health Diet

When it comes to choosing research paper topics, health issues are always topical as they concern all people regardless of their gender, age, religion, etc. Health diet is especially relevant as so much in our life depends on what, when, and how we eat.

Interesting Research Paper Topics About Health Diet

  • Understanding food nutrition labels. Explain why being able to understand food labels can help people make healthier choices.
  • Alcohol and heart diseases.
  • Are regular alcohol consumption and healthy diet compatible?
  • On the importance of inculcating healthy eating habits in early age.
  • Why can healthy diet reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes?
  • Healthy diet and blood pressure: is there a direct connection?
  • Overview of the unhealthy eating habits in America.
  • Economical benefits of promoting healthy lifestyle and diet.
  • How to eat healthy if you are a vegetarian?
  • The role of society in developing eating disorders.
  • Can vegetarian diet be a solution to all problems?
  • Is raw food diet so healthy?
  • Healthy immune system and nutrition. It’s no secret that the ability of the human body to resist viruses depends on nutrition. Discuss the best nutrition solutions for the human immune system in your study.
  • Can healthy diet stop or at least prevent aging?
  • Are media responsible for eating disorders as well?
  • Why do people prefer junk food to healthy food? What ingredients make junk food so attractive?
  • The college diet and how it changes eating habits.
  • Comparing compulsive overeating and Anorexia Nervosa.
  • How a balanced diet can improve our psychological condition.
  • Why may high-protein diets for weight loss turn out harmful?
  • Is organic food an integral part of the healthy diet?
  • Misconceptions about nutritional supplements.
  • Why are natural supplements not necessarily safe? Explain why it is desirable to consult a doctor before taking one or the other nutritional supplement.

The number of research paper topics for healthcare is actually incalculable, so you may as well do a little brainstorming to come up with your own original topic. The main point here is that you should choose something that interests you so you have enough motivation to do the job. If you need more information on the nutrition-related issues, look at here.

How You Should Write Your Health Diet Paper

Take the following steps after you have chosen the topic for your study:

Do methodical research.

Use different sources of information for your health diet study. Go to the library and search the web – it’s actually not so important where you find the information. More important is though that it’s accurate and true. Once you have gathered the data, carefully sort through it. Highlight the most important facts and ideas and cross out the passages that are in discordance with your views.

Formulate the thesis statement.

It’s nothing but the main idea of your paper encapsulated in one or two sentences. Make your thesis statement sound strong so your reader has no doubts about what position you are going to defend. “Governments should spend more on nutrition education in schools. Americans risk becoming a sick nation otherwise” is an example of such statement.

Start writing.

Start with an outline so you have a list of everything you are going to talk about in your paper before your eyes. Write the first draft then, concentrating more on the essence of your study rather than on grammatical correctness. The draft ready, take a break and revise it paying attention to the logical flow of your writing and how persuasive you are at getting your message across to the reader.

Finally, carefully edit and proofread your health diet paper so its phrasing is smooth and there are no grammatical or other errors in it.


A systematic review was conducted to examine the barriers to, and facilitators of, healthy eating among young people (11–16 years). The review focused on the wider determinants of health, examining community- and society-level interventions. Seven outcome evaluations and eight studies of young people's views were included. The effectiveness of the interventions was mixed, with improvements in knowledge and increases in healthy eating but differences according to gender. Barriers to healthy eating included poor school meal provision and ease of access to, relative cheapness of and personal taste preferences for fast food. Facilitators included support from family, wider availability of healthy foods, desire to look after one's appearance and will-power. Friends and teachers were generally not a common source of information. Some of the barriers and facilitators identified by young people had been addressed by soundly evaluated effective interventions, but significant gaps were identified where no evaluated interventions appear to have been published (e.g. better labelling of food products), or where there were no methodologically sound evaluations. Rigorous evaluation is required particularly to assess the effectiveness of increasing the availability of affordable healthy food in the public and private spaces occupied by young people.


Healthy eating contributes to an overall sense of well-being, and is a cornerstone in the prevention of a number of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, dental caries and asthma. For children and young people, healthy eating is particularly important for healthy growth and cognitive development. Eating behaviours adopted during this period are likely to be maintained into adulthood, underscoring the importance of encouraging healthy eating as early as possible [1]. Guidelines recommend consumption of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, reduced intakes of saturated fat and salt and increased consumption of complex carbohydrates [2, 3]. Yet average consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK is only about three portions a day [4]. A survey of young people aged 11–16 years found that nearly one in five did not eat breakfast before going to school [5]. Recent figures also show alarming numbers of obese and overweight children and young people [6]. Discussion about how to tackle the ‘epidemic’ of obesity is currently high on the health policy agenda [7], and effective health promotion remains a key strategy [8–10].

Evidence for the effectiveness of interventions is therefore needed to support policy and practice. The aim of this paper is to report a systematic review of the literature on young people and healthy eating. The objectives were

  • (i) to undertake a ‘systematic mapping’ of research on the barriers to, and facilitators of, healthy eating among young people, especially those from socially excluded groups (e.g. low-income, ethnic minority—in accordance with government health policy);

  • (ii) to prioritize a subset of studies to systematically review ‘in-depth’;

  • (iii) to ‘synthesize’ what is known from these studies about the barriers to, and facilitators of, healthy eating with young people, and how these can be addressed and

  • (iv) to identify gaps in existing research evidence.


General approach

This study followed standard procedures for a systematic review [11, 12]. It also sought to develop a novel approach in three key areas.

First, it adopted a conceptual framework of ‘barriers’ to and ‘facilitators’ of health. Research findings about the barriers to, and facilitators of, healthy eating among young people can help in the development of potentially effective intervention strategies. Interventions can aim to modify or remove barriers and use or build upon existing facilitators. This framework has been successfully applied in other related systematic reviews in the area of healthy eating in children [13], physical activity with children [14] and young people [15] and mental health with young people [16; S. Oliver, A. Harden, R. Rees, J. Shepherd, G. Brunton and A. Oakley, manuscript in preparation].

Second, the review was carried out in two stages: a systematic search for, and mapping of, literature on healthy eating with young people, followed by an in-depth systematic review of the quality and findings of a subset of these studies. The rationale for a two-stage review to ensure the review was as relevant as possible to users. By mapping a broad area of evidence, the key characteristics of the extant literature can be identified and discussed with review users, with the aim of prioritizing the most relevant research areas for systematic in-depth analysis [17, 18].

Third, the review utilized a ‘mixed methods’ triangulatory approach. Data from effectiveness studies (‘outcome evaluations’, primarily quantitative data) were combined with data from studies which described young people's views of factors influencing their healthy eating in negative or positive ways (‘views’ studies, primarily qualitative). We also sought data on young people's perceptions of interventions when these had been collected alongside outcomes data in outcome evaluations. However, the main source of young people's views was surveys or interview-based studies that were conducted independently of intervention evaluation (‘non-intervention’ research). The purpose was to enable us to ascertain not just whether interventions are effective, but whether they address issues important to young people, using their views as a marker of appropriateness. Few systematic reviews have attempted to synthesize evidence from both intervention and non-intervention research: most have been restricted to outcome evaluations. This study therefore represents one of the few attempts that have been made to date to integrate different study designs into systematic reviews of effectiveness [19–22].

Literature searching

A highly sensitive search strategy was developed to locate potentially relevant studies. A wide range of terms for healthy eating (e.g. nutrition, food preferences, feeding behaviour, diets and health food) were combined with health promotion terms or general or specific terms for determinants of health or ill-health (e.g. health promotion, behaviour modification, at-risk-populations, sociocultural factors and poverty) and with terms for young people (e.g. adolescent, teenager, young adult and youth). A number of electronic bibliographic databases were searched, including Medline, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, ERIC, Social Science Citation Index, CINAHL, BiblioMap and HealthPromis. The searches covered the full range of publication years available in each database up to 2001 (when the review was completed).

Full reports of potentially relevant studies identified from the literature search were obtained and classified (e.g. in terms of specific topic area, context, characteristics of young people, research design and methodological attributes).

Inclusion screening

Inclusion criteria were developed and applied to each study. The first round of screening was to identify studies to populate the map. To be included, a study had to (i) focus on healthy eating; (ii) include young people aged 11–16 years; (iii) be about the promotion of healthy eating, and/or the barriers to, or facilitators of, healthy eating; (iv) be a relevant study type: (a) an outcome evaluation or (b) a non-intervention study (e.g. cohort or case control studies, or interview studies) conducted in the UK only (to maximize relevance to UK policy and practice) and (v) be published in the English language.

The results of the map, which are reported in greater detail elsewhere [23], were used to prioritize a subset of policy relevant studies for the in-depth systematic review.

A second round of inclusion screening was performed. As before, all studies had to have healthy eating as their main focus and include young people aged 11–16 years. In addition, outcome evaluations had toFor a non-intervention study to be included it had to

  • (i) use a comparison or control group; report pre- and post-intervention data and, if a non-randomized trial, equivalent on sociodemographic characteristics and pre-intervention outcome variables (demonstrating their ‘potential soundness’ in advance of further quality assessment);

  • (ii) report an intervention that aims to make a change at the community or society level and

  • (iii) measure behavioural and/or physical health status outcomes.

  • (i) examine young people's attitudes, opinions, beliefs, feelings, understanding or experiences about healthy eating (rather than solely examine health status, behaviour or factual knowledge);

  • (ii) access views about one or more of the following: young people's definitions of and/or ideas about healthy eating, factors influencing their own or other young people's healthy eating and whether and how young people think healthy eating can be promoted and

  • (iii) privilege young people's views—presenting views directly as data that are valuable and interesting in themselves, rather than only as a route to generating variables to be tested in a predictive or causal model.

Non-intervention studies published before 1990 were excluded in order to maximize the relevance of the review findings to current policy issues.

Data extraction and quality assessment

All studies meeting inclusion criteria underwent data extraction and quality assessment, using a standardized framework [24]. Data for each study were entered independently by two researchers into a specialized computer database [25] (the full and final data extraction and quality assessment judgement for each study in the in-depth systematic review can be viewed on the Internet by visiting

Outcome evaluations were considered methodologically ‘sound’ if they reported:Only studies meeting these criteria were used to draw conclusions about effectiveness. The results of the studies which did not meet these quality criteria were judged unclear.

  • (i) a control or comparison group equivalent to the intervention group on sociodemographic characteristics and pre-intervention outcome variables.

  • (ii) pre-intervention data for all individuals or groups recruited into the evaluation;

  • (iii) post-intervention data for all individuals or groups recruited into the evaluation and

  • (iv) on all outcomes, as described in the aims of the intervention.

Non-intervention studies were assessed according to a total of seven criteria (common to sets of criteria proposed by four research groups for qualitative research [26–29]):

  • (i) an explicit account of theoretical framework and/or the inclusion of a literature review which outlined a rationale for the intervention;

  • (ii) clearly stated aims and objectives;

  • (iii) a clear description of context which includes detail on factors important for interpreting the results;

  • (iv) a clear description of the sample;

  • (v) a clear description of methodology, including systematic data collection methods;

  • (vi) analysis of the data by more than one researcher and

  • (vii) the inclusion of sufficient original data to mediate between data and interpretation.

Data synthesis

Three types of analyses were performed: (i) narrative synthesis of outcome evaluations, (ii) narrative synthesis of non-intervention studies and (iii) synthesis of intervention and non-intervention studies together.

For the last of these a matrix was constructed which laid out the barriers and facilitators identified by young people alongside descriptions of the interventions included in the in-depth systematic review of outcome evaluations. The matrix was stratified by four analytical themes to characterize the levels at which the barriers and facilitators appeared to be operating: the school, family and friends, the self and practical and material resources. This methodology is described further elsewhere [20, 22, 30].

From the matrix it is possible to see:

  • (i) where barriers have been modified and/or facilitators built upon by soundly evaluated interventions, and ‘promising’ interventions which need further, more rigorous, evaluation (matches) and

  • (ii) where barriers have not been modified and facilitators not built upon by any evaluated intervention, necessitating the development and rigorous evaluation of new interventions (gaps).


Figure 1 outlines the number of studies included at various stages of the review. Of the total of 7048 reports identified, 135 reports (describing 116 studies) met the first round of screening and were included in the descriptive map. The results of the map are reported in detail in a separate publication—see Shepherd et al. [23] (the report can be downloaded free of charge via A subset of 22 outcome evaluations and 8 studies of young people's views met the criteria for the in-depth systematic review.

Outcome evaluations

Of the 22 outcome evaluations, most were conducted in the United States (n = 16) [31–45], two in Finland [46, 47], and one each in the UK [48], Norway [49], Denmark [50] and Australia [51]. In addition to the main focus on promoting healthy eating, they also addressed other related issues including cardiovascular disease in general, tobacco use, accidents, obesity, alcohol and illicit drug use. Most were based in primary or secondary school settings and were delivered by teachers. Interventions varied considerably in content. While many involved some form of information provision, over half (n = 13) involved attempts to make structural changes to young people's physical environments; half (n = 11) trained parents in or about nutrition, seven developed health-screening resources, five provided feedback to young people on biological measures and their behavioural risk status and three aimed to provide social support systems for young people or others in the community. Social learning theory was the most common theoretical framework used to develop these interventions. Only a minority of studies included young people who could be considered socially excluded (n = 6), primarily young people from ethnic minorities (e.g. African Americans and Hispanics).

Following detailed data extraction and critical appraisal, only seven of the 22 outcome evaluations were judged to be methodologically sound. For the remainder of this section we only report the results of these seven. Four of the seven were from the United States, with one each from the UK, Norway and Finland. The studies varied in the comprehensiveness of their reporting of the characteristics of the young people (e.g. sociodemographic/economic status). Most were White, living in middle class urban areas. All attended secondary schools. Table I details the interventions in these sound studies. Generally, they were multicomponent interventions in which classroom activities were complemented with school-wide initiatives and activities in the home. All but one of the seven sound evaluations included and an integral evaluation of the intervention processes. Some studies report results according to demographic characteristics such as age and gender.

Table I.

Soundly evaluated outcome evaluations: study characteristics (n = 7)

Author/Country/Design Population Setting Objectives Providers Programme content 
Klepp and Wilhelmsen [49], Norway, CT (+PE) Seventh grade (13 years old) students Secondary schools 
  • To increase the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat bread and low-fat dairy products, and decrease the consumption of high-sugar and high-fat snack foods

Teachers and peer educators 
  • Small group classroom discussion to identify healthy and unhealthy food, the consequences of diet and rationales for choosing healthy foods, identifying healthy alternative snacks and discussing presentation of food by the media

  • A computer program allowed students to analyse the nutritional status of various foods

  • Students analysed food items available in local stores, their homes and local youth organizations

  • Peer educators led classroom group-work and role-plays

  • Students prepared healthy foods at school and home, and shared information with friends and families

Moon et al. [48], UK, CT (+PE) Year 8 and Year 11 pupils (aged 11–16 years) Secondary schools 
  • To evaluate the impact on levels of health promotion activity, organization and functioning of participating schools

  • To determine the effects on pupils' health-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviour

  • Teachers and key school staff

  • Members of the school community (‘holistic’ approach)

  • The ‘Wessex Healthy Schools Award’

  • The award scheme provides structured frameworks, health-related targets and external support to help schools become health promoting

  • The scheme covers nine key areas: 1, the curriculum; 2, links with the wider community; 3, a smoke-free school; 4, healthy food choices; 5, physical activity; 6, responsibility for health; 7, health promoting workplace; 8, environment and 9, equal opportunities and access to health

Nicklas et al. [40], USA, RCT (+PE) Ninth grade (age range 14–15 years) at start; 3-year longitudinal cohort intervention High schools Objective of the ‘Gimme 5’ programme
  • To promote changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to daily consumption of fruit and vegetables

    Objective of the parent programme ‘5 a Day For Better Health’:

  • To promote a per capita intake of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day

Teachers, health educators and school catering personnel 
  • The ‘Gimme 5’ programme

  • A 3-year multicomponent intervention incorporating a school-wide media marketing campaign (posters, public address announcements, marketing stations), classroom activities (teacher- or health educator-led workshops), parental involvement (newsletters, brochures sent home) and changes to the content of school meals (increased availability and portion sizes of fruits and vegetables)

Perry et al. [41], USA, RCT (+PE) Ninth grade (14- to 15-year-old pupils) Suburban high school 
  • To establish positive eating and physical activity patterns and behavioural goals

  • To decrease salt and saturated fat intake and increase intake of complex carbohydrates

  • To increase level of physical activity

Teachers administered the programme in general, with 30 class-elected peer leaders leading the class-based sessions 
  • The ‘Slice of Life’ programme

  • A 10-session high school curriculum designed to promote healthy eating and physical activity patterns among young people

  • Intervention covered knowledge about benefits of fitness, characteristics of a heart healthy diet, social influences on eating and exercise habits and issues to do with weight control. Environmental influences (e.g. provision of health food options in school canteen) were identified and strategies for improvement were presented to school personnel

Vartiainen et al. [47], Finland, RCT (+PE) 12- to 16-year-old students Secondary schools in the Karelia and Kuopio regions of Finland 
  • To improve nutrition and positive social relations with peers and adults, and to improve problem- solving and -coping skills

Health educators, school nurses, peer educators, school teachers 
  • The second ‘North Karelia Youth Programme’

  • Multi component intervention featuring: classroom educational activities, media campaign (production of a television programme), changes to the nutritional content of school meals, health-screening activities and a health education initiative in the workplaces of the parents

Walter I and IIa [45], USA, RCT (+PE) Fourth grade (mean age 9 years at start); 5-year longitudinal cohort intervention Elementary and junior high schools 
  • To favourably modify the population distributions of risk factors for coronary heart disease and cancer through changes in diet


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