Practice that goes beyond dubious

As Editor of the journal I receive a lot of JHND related email every week. This ranges from enquiries about the suitability of proposed manuscripts for the journal, to queries about the reasoning behind the rejection of a paper. This week a new trend appears to have infected my email inbox. I have had three messages that run something like this:

Dear Editor,
I am a teacher in a Chinese university. As far as I know, there are more than 20 authors who are interested in your journal very much, of course including me. Nowadays my colleagues and I have many good articles which meet your range of draft, so we really want these articles to be published in your journal. I believe that the quality and content of our articles all conform to your journal’s requirements.
Besides, for the publication fees, we can pay high for each article if our articles are allowed to be published. We think both of us will benefit from this cooperation. I hope you can consider such thing. 
If you have any problem, you can also write your requirements to me.
Looking forward to your positive reply.

Now, I will leave you to ponder this for just a second or two before moving on… These messages are basically attempts to bribe me into publishing manuscripts. No exact figures have been mentioned, but the phrase used is ‘we can pay high for each article if our articles are allowed to be published’. This would be a bribe.  I am lost for words. Regardless of the illegality of such a transaction and the fact that accepting such an offer would result in my dismissal from the University of Nottingham, this proposition is outrageously unethical from a publication standpoint. The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics works to the highest level of ethical and quality standards. We only publish work which has gone through rigorous peer-review and take the step of double-blinding that process to minimise bias and conflicts of interest. We aim to publish only work of high quality (the top 15% of all submissions we receive) and have introduced steps to ensure the highest standards of reporting and integrity around randomised controlled trials and epidemiological studies. We do not charge publication fees (although there is a fee for Open Access). My message back to the people sending these emails to me will be not just a firm no- they will be blacklisted and effectively banned from publishing in JHND. I am more than willing to share that list with other editors on request. I feel that it is important that all journal editors speak out on this issue and make a clear stand to show that the academic publishing system is not for sale. Unknown

Coming soon…

The running order for the November/December issue of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics is:


Impact of a customised dietary intervention on antioxidant status, dietary intakes and periodontal indices in patients with adult periodontitis. Zare Javid et al.,

A questionnaire survey on the usage of low protein staple foods by people with phenylketonuria in Scotland. Cochrane et al.,

Motives for adherence to a gluten-free diet: a qualitative investigation involving adults with coeliac disease. Dowd et al., (EDITOR’S PICK)


 Water intakes and dietary sources of a nationally representative sample of Irish adults. O’Connor et al.,

A systematic review investigating associations between parenting style and child feeding behaviours. Collins et al.,

Diet quality of Australian breast cancer survivors: a cross-sectional analysis from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Potter et al.,

Systematic review of diet quality indices and their associations with health-related outcomes in children and adolescents. Marshall et al.,


Calcium-vitamin D-fortified milk is as effective on circulating bone biomarkers as fortified juice and supplement but has less acceptance: a randomised controlled school-based trial. Neyestani et al.,

Supermarket own brand foods: lower in energy cost but similar in nutritional quality to their market brand alternatives. Faulkner et al.,

A comparison of body composition measurement techniques. Hillier et al.,


Beyond sports nutrition: the diverse role of dietitians at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. Burkhart and Pelley.

Change in guidance for authors

The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to ensuring full and accurate reporting of research methods to ensure quality and integrity of the research we publish. With effect from December 2014 we will introduce the requirement for research manuscripts to conform to specific guidelines. Articles that do not fulfill this requirement will not be considered for publication.


Randomised controlled trials

We strongly welcome the submission of randomized controlled trials. Articles which are reporting the findings of randomised controlled trials involving human subjects must comply with the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) guidelines. The guidelines can be accessed at and authors should include a completed CONSORT checklist and flow diagram with their manuscript submission (the flowchart should be included as a figure within the paper, but the checklist will not be published) and include a statement about compliance with the guidelines within the methods section of the work. Manuscripts should include the term “randomised controlled trial” in their title


Observational studies

Articles which report the findings of observational epidemiological studies (cross-sectional, case-control, cohort studies) must comply with the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guidelines. The guidelines can be accessed at  and authors should include a completed STROBE checklist  with their manuscript submission (this will not be published as part of the paper) and include a statement about compliance with the guidelines within the methods section of the work. Manuscripts should include the study design (e.g. a case-control study) within their title.


Systematic reviews and meta-analyses

The journal publishes systematic review articles and meta-analyses and endorses the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Statement, a guideline to help authors report a systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic review or meta-analysis should follow the PRISMA guidelines ( Every systematic review/meta-analysis should be submitted along with a copy of the PRISMA checklist, that clearly indicates where in the manuscript each of the PRISMA recommendations are addressed. The PRISMA checklist can be downloaded from When submitting a systematic review/meta-analysis, the PRISMA checklist can be uploaded included in the covering letter to the editor. Please note, the checklist is a guide for the authors and peer-reviewers, but will not be published. Manuscripts should include the term “systematic review” or “meta-analysis” in their title.

Seeking a new Commissioned Reviews Editor- are you interested?

The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics is an international peer-reviewed journal publishing original research papers and reviews in applied nutrition and dietetics, focussing on: nutritional science; clinical nutrition; public health nutrition and epidemiology; and dietetic professional practice. The editorial board consists of international experts from these disciplines. The journal is indexed in numerous databases including Medline (PubMed) and Embase and last year articles from the journal were downloaded over 300,000 times by readers from all over the world. Our impact factor is increasing and we have ambitions to improved manuscript quality, readership and citation over the coming years and have developed a strategy to achieve this.

With this goal in mind we are seeking to appoint a Commissioned Reviews Editor. The role will involve:

  • Identifying topics for review papers that will likely be highly read and highly cited;
  • Identifying world leaders in these topics and invite them to write a review on it;
  • Liaise with authors so that commissioned reviews are submitted to an agreed deadline;
  • Once submitted, to act as editor of the commissioned reviews, including managing the manuscripts through the peer-review process on the ScholarOne platform.
  • Perform other duties as required of a member of the editorial board

The Commissioned Reviews Editor will work closely with the Editor-in-Chief (Prof Simon Langley-Evans, University of Nottingham), the Associate Editor-in-Chief/Unsolicited Reviews Editor (Prof Kevin Whelan, King’s College London) and the other members of the editorial board.

The ideal candidate will be a researcher in an academic or clinical academic position with a PhD and research programme in a relevant area (e.g. nutrition science; clinical nutrition; public health nutrition and epidemiology; or dietetic professional practice). Applicants should have experience of publication in peer-reviewed journals and good international professional networks. However, what is most important is that the post holder has an understanding of the topics in nutrition that are important to researchers/practitioners and that are likely to be well cited. Good organisation skills, attention to detail and fluency in English language are essential requirements. This is a significant task and it is important that the successful candidate can commit some time each week to undertaking journal duties. Therefore this is an ideal opportunity for an ambitious researcher to develop skills as a journal editor.

A modest honorarium is available for the position.

A full CV together with a 1 page summary (describing the reasons you would like this position and what skills you would bring) should be sent to and . Closing date 28th November 2014.

Refeeding syndrome and student dietitians

Agreement between student dietitians’ identification of refeeding syndrome risk with refeeding guidelines, electrolytes and other dietitians: a pilot study

Matthews et al., JHND Early View


Limited research exists concerning how consistently and accurately student and newly-graduated dietitians are identifying refeeding syndrome risk in hospitalised patients. The present study aimed to determine the consistency of students’ and newly-graduated dietitians’ classification of refeeding syndrome risk, as well as agreement with the application of comparison tools such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, patients’ electrolytes and supplementation, and clinical dietitians previously surveyed.


Recently-graduated and final-year Griffith University dietetics students were invited to complete an online survey. The survey questioned demographics and asked respondents to classify the level of refeeding syndrome risk (i.e. none, some, high, unsure) in 13 case studies. Electrolytes and supplementation data were sourced from electronic patient records. Chi-squared tests, t-tests and linear regression analyses were conducted.


Fifty-three eligible people responded [n = 53 of 112, mean (SD) age 26 (4) years, 89% female, 34% graduates]. Respondents’ answers were generally more consistent and more likely to agree with comparison tools when two tools showed the same level of refeeding syndrome risk (49–98%, β = 0.626–1.0994, P < 0.001) than when they differed (11–49%). Respondents’ level of agreement with refeeding identification guidelines, electrolyte levels, supplementation and dietitians previously surveyed did not differ by graduate status, degree level, clinical placement status or having read refeeding syndrome guidelines recently (P > 0.05).


Students’ and new graduates’ identification of refeeding syndrome risk improved when there was consistency between guidelines, electrolytes and dietitians’ responses. More research is needed to improve the evidence behind refeeding guidelines, with the aim of enhancing the accuracy and consistency of assessment.

Vitamin D and muscle strength

Vitamin D and muscle strength throughout the life course: a review of epidemiological and intervention studies

McCarthy and Kiely, JHND Early View

The putative role of vitamin D in muscle function and strength throughout the life course is of interest because muscle strength is required for engagement in physical activity at all ages. As vitamin D deficiency is widely reported in the population, especially in countries at high latitude, the potential importance of vitamin D in muscle function throughout life, and the potential impacts on growth and development, participation in physical activity, and effects on skeletal and cardio-metabolic health, comprise an important topic for discussion. This review provides an overview of muscle function and summarises the role of the vitamin D receptor and the proposed molecular mechanisms of action of vitamin D in muscle cells. In addition, the review provides a comprehensive assessment of the clinical evidence surrounding the association between vitamin D and muscle strength. Among adults, particularly older adults, cross-sectional and cohort studies reported a positive association between vitamin D status and muscle strength. These associations have been largely confirmed by intervention studies. Limited research has been carried out in adolescents and children; two cross-sectional studies in adolescents have suggested an association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and muscle strength. However, the two intervention studies in adolescents have yielded conflicting results. Other than a single observational study, data in young children are very limited and further investigation in under 12-year-olds is warranted.

Obesity- it’s in your neighbourhood

The spatial clustering of obesity: does the built environment matter?

Huang et al., JHND Early View


Obesity rates in the USA show distinct geographical patterns. The present study used spatial cluster detection methods and individual-level data to locate obesity clusters and to analyse them in relation to the neighbourhood built environment.


The 2008–2009 Seattle Obesity Study provided data on the self-reported height, weight, and sociodemographic characteristics of 1602 King County adults. Home addresses were geocoded. Clusters of high or low body mass index were identified using Anselin’s Local Moran’s I and a spatial scan statistic with regression models that searched for unmeasured neighbourhood-level factors from residuals, adjusting for measured individual-level covariates. Spatially continuous values of objectively measured features of the local neighbourhood built environment (SmartMaps) were constructed for seven variables obtained from tax rolls and commercial databases.


Both the Local Moran’s I and a spatial scan statistic identified similar spatial concentrations of obesity. High and low obesity clusters were attenuated after adjusting for age, gender, race, education and income, and they disappeared once neighbourhood residential property values and residential density were included in the model.


Using individual-level data to detect obesity clusters with two cluster detection methods, the present study showed that the spatial concentration of obesity was wholly explained by neighbourhood composition and socioeconomic characteristics. These characteristics may serve to more precisely locate obesity prevention and intervention programme