We research: An RCT study provides hard research data for nutrition science

5.10.2023Susanna KunvikWe research

Good nutrition is an important component of well-being, health and quality of life. However, only one in five people eat according to nutritional recommendations. Finnish working-age people face a number of nutritional health challenges, including the risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. In Satakunta, the scale of these challenges is even slightly higher; we have the highest number of men with obesity and type 2 diabetes in Finland. In addition to physical well-being, nutrition also has a significant impact on mental well-being. Poor eating habits can affect, for example, the risk of depression.

RCT Study progression. Picture: RAVI Project.
RCT Study progression. Picture: RAVI Project.

Nutritional challenges will continue to be reflected in working life. As the physical and mental health of the working-age population declines, so does the number of healthy people in the workforce. At the same time, we are grappling with an already existing chronic labor shortage as the population retires and new workers are hard to find to replace them. We are in a situation where we need to invest in the well-being of existing employees. Promoting good eating habits and nutritional status is one important way of doing this.

Randomized Controlled Intervention Study

The Satakunta University of Applied Sciences' RAVI study examines the effects of nutrition on working-age people's ability to work, their well-being and productivity at work, sickness absence and quality of life. The target group consists of small and medium-sized companies in Satakunta (n=6) and their employees (n=170).

The RAVI study is a randomized controlled intervention study (RCT), which has been the "gold standard" of intervention effectiveness in many disciplines for decades, particularly in nutrition science. It is considered the best study design to demonstrate the effect of an intervention. In RCT, subjects are randomized to either an intervention group or a control group. The intervention in the RAVI study is a 12-month personalized nutritional guidance, complemented by a personalized nutrition plan, a comprehensive information package on health, the use of a smartwatch and participation in a 'Nutrition for Work' online course developed by project experts.

The RAVI study hypothesizes that, as a result of the 12-month comprehensive nutritional guidance, the intervention group's subjects' work performance, well-being at work, work productivity and quality of life will improve compared to the control group. If successful, the RAVI study will generate ground-breaking research on the subject. In addition, the study aims to create nutrition guidance tools and materials that can be used by all working-age people and employers in Finland.

Did you know?

  • The RAVI study was inspired by the Eat@Work project, which showed good results on the improvement of workers' work performance after nutrition counselling.
  • To be carried out, an RCT study requires a favorable ethical approval from an ethics committee, which examines the conduct of the study from a number of different perspectives. To obtain a favorable ethical approval, the study must be carefully designed, i.e. a study design with all its appendices must be prepared for the assessment. The ethical assessment of the RAVI study is carried out by the Ethics Committee of Varha.
  • RCTs must be registered in a public international research register before the study is started. The aim of registration is to make all studies and their results public, to increase public confidence in research and to avoid duplication of studies in the name of ethics. ANZCTR - Registration

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