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Supermarket Healthy Eating for Life (SHELf): protocol of a randomised controlled trial promoting healthy food and beverage consumption through price reduction and skill-building strategies

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posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kylie BallKylie Ball, Sarah McNaughtonSarah McNaughton, C Mhurchu, Nick Andrianopoulos, Victoria Inglis, Briohny McNeilly, Ha LeHa Le, Deborah Leslie, C Pollard, David CrawfordDavid Crawford
Background: In the context of rising food prices, there is a need for evidence on the most effective approaches for promoting healthy eating. Individually-targeted behavioural interventions for increasing food-related skills show promise, but are unlikely to be effective in the absence of structural supports. Fiscal policies have been advocated as a means of promoting healthy eating and reducing obesity and nutrition-related disease, but there is little empirical evidence of their effectiveness. This paper describes the Supermarket Healthy Eating for LiFe (SHELf) study, a randomised controlled trial to investigate effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a tailored skill-building intervention and a price reduction intervention, separately and in combination, against a control condition for promoting purchase and consumption of healthy foods and beverages in women from high and low socioeconomic groups.
Methods/design: SHELf comprises a randomised controlled trial design, with participants randomised to receive either (1) a skill-building intervention; (2) price reductions on fruits, vegetables and low-joule soft drink beverages and water; (3) a combination of skill-building and price reductions; or (4) a control condition. Five hundred women from high and low socioeconomic areas will be recruited through a store loyalty card program and local media. Randomisation will occur on receipt of informed consent and baseline questionnaire. An economic evaluation from a societal perspective using a cost-consequences approach will compare the costs and outcomes between intervention and control groups.
Discussion: This study will build on a pivotal partnership with a major national supermarket chain and the Heart Foundation to investigate the effectiveness of intervention strategies aimed at increasing women’s purchasing and consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased purchasing and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. It will be among the first internationally to examine the effects of two promising approaches - skill-building and price reductions - on diet amongst women.



BMC public health




Article number 715


1 - 11


BioMed Central Ltd


London, England






This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Ball et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.