UNE’s Michele Polacsek publishes articles in three prominent journals

Michele Polacsek, Ph.D., M.H.S., professor of public health and director of the Center for Excellence in Public Health at the University of New England, is the co-author on three journal articles published this week.

The first, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, evaluates the changes in the calorie content of prepared foods at two large U.S. supermarket chains following the April 2017 implementation of calorie labels. The study found that prepared bakery items decreased by 7.7 calories per item after calorie labels were implemented and that industry changes brought on by policy could lead to reductions in caloric intake.

Published in the Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior, Polacsek’s second article describes the grocery shopping patterns of people who shopped both online and in store. When shopping online, participants spent more per transaction and purchased more items. Compared with in-store shopping, shopping online was associated with reduced spending per transaction on candy, cold or frozen desserts, and grain-based desserts. Online shopping was associated with lower spending on certain unhealthy, impulse-sensitive foods. The researchers concluded that grocery based healthy eating initiatives might leverage online ordering platforms to increase their reach and effectiveness.

The third article, published in Public Health Nutrition, describes shopper characteristics of online and in-store shoppers in one Maine community. Being female, having a greater number of children, and a higher income were significantly associated with the likelihood of shopping online. Reducing barriers to increase availability of online shopping for low-income families is paramount, Polacsek said.

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