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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Predicting limiting 'free sugar' consumption using an integrated model of health behavior.

Predicting limiting 'free sugar' consumption using an integrated model of health behavior.

(2020)

Excess intake of 'free sugars' is a key predictor of chronic disease, obesity, and dental ill health. Given the importance of determining modifiable predictors of free sugar-related dietary behaviors, we applied the integrated behavior change model to predict free sugar limiting behaviors. The model includes constructs representing 'reasoned' or deliberative processes that lead to action (e.g., social cognition constructs, intentions), and constructs representing 'non-conscious' or implicit processes (e.g., implicit attitudes, behavioral automaticity) as predictors of behavior. Undergraduate students (N = 205) completed measures of autonomous and controlled motivation, the theory of planned behavior (TPB) measures of explicit attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control (PBC), and intentions, past behavior, implicit attitude, and behavioral automaticity at an initial point in time, and free sugar limiting behavior and behavioral automaticity two weeks later. A Bayesian structural equation model indicated that explicit attitude, subjective norms, and PBC predicted behavior via intention. Autonomous motivation predicted behavior indirectly through all TPB variables, while controlled motivation predicted behavior only via subjective norms. Implicit attitudes and behavioral automaticity predicted behavior directly and independently. Past behavior predicted behavior directly and indirectly through behavioral automaticity and intentions, but not implicit attitudes. Current findings suggest pervasive effects of constructs representing both reasoned and non-conscious processes and signpost potential targets for behavioral interventions aimed at minimizing free sugar consumption.

Renormalizing individual performance metrics for cultural heritage management of sports records

(2020)

Individual performance metrics are commonly used to compare players from different eras. However, such cross-era comparison is often biased due to significant changes in success factors underlying player achievement rates (e.g. performance enhancing drugs and modern training regimens). Such historical comparison is more than fodder for casual discussion among sports fans, as it is also an issue of critical importance to the multi-billion dollar professional sport industry and the institutions (e.g. Hall of Fame) charged with preserving sports history and the legacy of outstanding players and achievements. To address this cultural heritage management issue, we report an objective statistical method for renormalizing career achievement metrics, one that is particularly tailored for common seasonal performance metrics, which are often aggregated into summary career metrics -- despite the fact that many player careers span different eras. Remarkably, we find that the method applied to comprehensive Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association player data preserves the overall functional form of the distribution of career achievement, both at the season and career level. As such, subsequent re-ranking of the top-50 all-time records in MLB and the NBA using renormalized metrics indicates reordering at the local rank level, as opposed to bulk reordering by era. This local order refinement signals time-independent mechanisms underlying annual and career achievement in professional sports, meaning that appropriately renormalized achievement metrics can be used to compare players from eras with different season lengths, team strategies, rules -- and possibly even different sports.

Cover page of Dietary prophage inducers and antimicrobials: toward landscaping the human gut microbiome.

Dietary prophage inducers and antimicrobials: toward landscaping the human gut microbiome.

(2020)

The approximately 1011 viruses and microbial cells per gram of fecal matter (dry weight) in the large intestine are important to human health. The responses of three common gut bacteria species, and one opportunistic pathogen, to 117 commonly consumed foods, chemical additives, and plant extracts were tested. Many compounds, including Stevia rebaudiana and bee propolis extracts, exhibited species-specific growth inhibition by prophage induction. Overall, these results show that various foods may change the abundances of gut bacteria by modulating temperate phage and suggests a novel path for landscaping the human gut microbiome.