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Journal Article

The Use of Metaphors in Dietary Visual Displays around the World

01 Sep 2007-Visible Language (University of Cincinnati)-Vol. 41, Iss: 3, pp 204
TL;DR: The objective is to examine how spatial organization and its graphical representation reflect conceptual organization in dietary visual displays vis-a-vis the nutrition concepts they stand for to foster understanding of dietary information and facilitate decision-making in food consumption.
Abstract: Many countries have developed visual displays summarizing key scientific information on diet and health for the general public. The article analyzes the use of metaphors in dietary visual displays in seven countries. The objective is to examine how spatial organization and its graphical representation reflect conceptual organization. It investigates the correspondences between metaphors, schemas and visual depictions in the diagrams vis-a-vis the nutrition concepts they stand for: Do the displays foster understanding of dietary information? Do they support perceptual inferences? Do they facilitate decision-making in food consumption? Several countries around the world are committed to devising dietary strategies that promote and protect health through healthy eating and physical activity. Many of these countries have delineated national dietary goals and nutrition systems in the form of food-based dietary guidelines. Guidelines are educational tools designed to provide practical guidance with the purpose of promoting wellness and preventing chronic diseases among the general public. They synthesize current scientific research as well as national food consumption patterns and policies (e.g., Truswell, 1987; FAO, 1996; Painter, 2002; WHO, 2003). In many cases, they also reflect the influences of the local food industry (Nestle, 2002). National food guidance systems vary according to geography, cultural and ethnical traditions and year of publication.Most systems share a common set of wellness principles that promotes variety in food intake, emphasizing the consumption of fruits, vegetables and grains and limiting the consumption of fats. A recent trend is acknowledgment of different nutritional requirements for different age and gender. For example, the most recent American (USDA, 2005) and Canadian (Health Canada, 2007) food guidance systems offer online tools with personalization of food recommendations. Dietary guidance systems are disseminated in various ways, including brochures, labels with nutrition information on packaging and most recently online resources. Most countries provide a visual display presenting the key concepts. These graphics may be considered snap-shots of the dietary guidelines. The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the need for visual graphics by recommending that the guidelines should "be accompanied by posters or food selection guides. These visual guides should assist users to select a diet... reflect a concern for promoting food choices ... be culturally inclusive and incorporate foods that are generally available.... In addition a guide should be based on sound educational principles and be accessible to a wide range of educational levels" (2003, p. 6). This article examines eight dietary visual displays of seven countries: Australia (figure 7), Canada (figure 5), China (figure 6), Portugal, (figure 2) Sweden (figure 4), the United Kingdom (figure 3) and the United States (figures 7 and 8). Dietary visual displays The graphics examined in this article represent information that is not inherently visible: a healthy diet. The concept of a healthy diet involves many aspects, among them nutrition advice. Because nutrients are a hard concept to grasp, all countries provide information about food, which is a concrete entity. All graphics categorize food according to nutritional properties. Information is presented in the form of food groups (e.g., Milk and Dairy Products). Each group is represented by a selection of food choices (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese). Quantitative information is measured in terms of recommended daily servings for each group (e.g., gram, ounce, cup). The number of food groups and the suggested servings vary depending on the country and the year of publication (e.g., Truswell, 1987; FAO, 1996; Painter, 2002; WHO, 2003). In the selected food diagrams the country with the largest number of food groups is Portugal, with eight groups. …
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01 Jan 2013
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe the process of developing graphical metaphors and diagrammatic representations for the Human Development Index (HDI) and its components: the HDI============Tree (UNDP, 2011).
Abstract: This paper describes the process of developing graphical metaphors and diagrammatic representations for the Human Development Index – HDI– and its components: the HDI Tree (UNDP, 2011). In 1990, the United Nations Development Programme introduced the Human Development Index as a measure of development that combines indicators of life expectancy, educational attainment and income. The project was commissioned to Cesar A. Hidalgo (2010) by the Human Development Report office and developed in collaboration with three senior students at Northeastern University. The objective was to explore ways to simplify and communicate the Human Development Index using visual rather than numerical representations. Here, we describe the design process, discuss the concepts behind the metaphor, and analyze two selected visualizations. We conclude by examining how the Development Tree can be used in visual narratives for educational and outreach purposes.
Trending Questions (1)
How do metaphors affect the field of nutrition?

Metaphors in dietary visual displays help to convey complex nutrition concepts and promote understanding and decision-making in food consumption.