University of Gothenburg


The STROBE-nut extension

The STROBE-nut extension

What is STROBE-nut? STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational Epidemiology statement (STROBE), is a collaborative initiative that aims at improving the reporting of epidemiological research in bio-medical journals ( ). STROBE has been adapted in different fields of epidemiological research and is supported by a growing number of journals. The STROBE-nut checklist is being developed as a collaborate effort of nutritional epidemiologists in Europe, and is organized as an extension to the original STROBE-statement. This new checklist sets the criteria for the completeness of reporting scientific information in nutritional epidemiology research.

Since the summer of 2014 the development of the STROBE-nut extension is a collaborative effort between the REFINED initiative and a STROBE project within NEON i.e., the Network in Epidemiology and Nutrition (NEON), Sweden.

The Aims

The aim of the STROBE-nut project is to construct a check-list (i.e., the STROBE-nut extension) that will facilitate the completeness of reporting in scientific publications on nutritional epidemiology research.
The aim of the STROBE-nut web-site is to spread information about the STROBE-nut extension, its use and applications; and to gather information on experiences from researchers using the STROBE-nut extension.

The Rationale

The quality of scientific information provided in nutritional epidemiology publications is often reported to be insufficient, causing the conclusions of these reports, and of systematic reviews (SR) to be weak or inconsistent. Therefore researchers have recognized a need for identifying and describing criteria for the completeness of reporting in publications of nutritional epidemiology.

The Process

Two separate initiatives were launched in 2013: the REFINED initiative and the STROBE project within NEON.
The REFINED initiative is coordinated by Dr. Carl Lachat (Ugent, Belgium), Dr. Inge Huybrechts (IARC, France) and Dr. Marga Ocké (RIVM, Netherlands) and was initially launched to develop a checklist to facilitate the reporting of food intake data. This study obtained ethical clearance from Gent University on 10/12/2013 (B670201319178), and did not receive outside funding. The full protocol can be found on the EQUATOR website. In order to benefit from the expertise of a broad range of professionals including methodologists, journal editors, statisticians, epidemiologists and content experts, a series of Delphi consultations through e-mail was launched. Open-ended questions were posed for the different checklist items to facilitate the collection of as many ideas and opinions as possible. Drafts of the checklist were to be circulated until reaching consensus. After the first Delphi round it became obvious that the checklist should focus on the reporting of nutritional epidemiology research rather than food intake data.

The NEON-project was initiated by a group of NEON members1 and is coordinated by Elisabet Wirfält (professor; Lund University, Sweden). Several NEON members have during the last 4-5 years been actively involved in the systematic literature reviews which formed the basis for the revised 5th edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR 2012, launched late in 2013) as well as in scientific evaluation projects within the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU). These exercises high-lighted a need for guidelines to help researchers when publishing results from nutritional epidemiology studies. In October 2013 a group of seven NEON members took on the task of constructing a checklist to facilitate the completeness of reporting in nutritional epidemiology publications. In May-June 2014 this work resulted in a draft checklist.

Both projects made contacts with the STROBE-organisation in order to obtain endorsement. In doing so it was obvious that the aims of the REFINED initiative and that of the NEON-project were similar. Therefore a decision was made in the summer of 2014 to continue the development of the STROBE-nut extension as a collaborative effort between the REFINED initiative and the NEON-project.

1. Christina Berg, associate professor, University of Gothenburg; Elisabet Forsum, professor, Linköping University; Agneta Hörnell, professor, Umeå University; Christel Larsson, professor, University of Gothenburg; Emily Sonestedt, research associate, Lund University; Elisabet Wirfält, professor, Lund University (coordinator); and Agneta Åkesson, associate professor, Karolinska Institutet.