- Open Access
Communication on personalised nutrition: individual-environment interaction
© Springer-Verlag 2007
- Published: 19 September 2007
- Open Dialogue
- Unhealthy Eating
- Round Table Discussion
- Eating Style
- Personalise Nutrition
The growing number of people with unhealthy lifestyles causes an increase of non-communicable diseases, thereby compromising quality of life of a large number of people. It is expected that mortality, morbidity and disability attributed to the major non-communicable diseases will rise to account for 73% of all deaths and 60% of the global burden of disease in 2020 . Unhealthy eating is one of the important components of lifestyle that contributes to the development of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Despite the large efforts, most nutrition interventions fail to effectively influence food choice. In most European countries, eating styles do not match with basic recommendations. Despite some improvements, diets still contain too much saturated fat, sugar and salt and insufficient vegetables, fruits and fish [2, 3].
It is already acknowledged for a long time that individual variability affects individual dietary and nutrient requirements, nutritional status and hence health. Therefore, recommendations on nutrient intake vary according to age, gender and ethnicity . Insights resulting from unravelling the human genome may extend nutrition interventions tailored to individual genetic make-up, the so-called innovative field of nutrigenomics based personalised nutrition (PN).
The European Nutrigenomics Organisation (NuGO) aims at a key-role in providing scientific-based information and facilitation of a platform for an open dialogue about nutrigenomics based PN. However, based on evidence from science and practice, the conclusion can be drawn that facilitating an open dialogue is a complex task that reaches far beyond “informing” [5, 6].
Round table discussion
During the round table discussion at the NuGO conference, November 2005, perspectives of representatives from different scientific disciplines, industry and government were collected on who should be involved in a dialogue and what topics should be on the agenda. It was clear that although the discussion was very lively, its content remained scattered leaving many topics touched upon yet not discussed in-depth. Reactions of participants were limited to their own specific interest and the discussion did not further elaborate on specific topics. Before an extensive and fruitful dialogue can take place, more insight is needed on the individual and environmental level.
Individual behaviour change
Research has shown that tailoring information to an individuals’ situation is more effective in influencing health behaviour than general information [7–17]. For instance, advice on the risks of unhealthy eating adapted to an individuals’ lifestyle (e.g. high intake of calories), physical (e.g. genetic background) and environmental circumstances (e.g. deskwork) can increase perceived personal vulnerability to nutrition-related diseases. High-perceived susceptibility is known to influence motivation for behaviour change. In the future, individuals are expected to be able to include information on their personal susceptibility to nutrition-related disease into their every day decisions about nutrition [18, 19]. The success of nutrigenomics based PN in terms of influencing food choice depends on whether and how it will be integrated in the process of behaviour change. Hardly any research has been conducted on this topic yet.
Next to individual motivation, the process of behaviour change is largely influenced by the social, physical and economic environment. The availability, accessibility and affordability of health assessments, advice and healthy food, social support of medical doctors and health educators, health education and promotion activities, scientific and popular articles and marketing advertising are environmental factors that influence access to personalised advice and capacity to act upon it. Actors in policy making, health care, health education and health promotion, the private commercial sector, media, civic groups and NGO’s all play important roles in shaping those factors. To create a supportive environment, those actors have to be able to make an informed decision on how and under what conditions nutrigenomics based PN should be introduced in society. Therefore, they need a certain level of knowledge on the scientific background, the state of the art and the relevant legal, social and ethical issues related to nutrigenomics.
Following the results of the round table discussion, the perspectives of concerned actors on their interest and role in nutrigenomics and nutrigenomics based PN, their current knowledge, specific demands for message content and communication channels, and their willingness to collaborate will be mapped during 2006. The results will be used by NuGO to further create their strategic communication infrastructure. A complicating issue in trying to create a dialogue on PN is the lack of insight on how this innovation will evolve in the near future. At the NuGO Conference in Mallorca, several participants presented their own perspective on how PN is or will be introduced in society. However, reflections of other actors in society are not yet known. This hinders further dialogue. In the coming years, the authors will work on the development of several “alternatives” for introduction of PN to create a basis for discussion. The alternatives, or prototypes, will reflect perspectives of actors in society. The prototypes can be used for further dialogues and will be adapted to new insights. At the department of Communication Science of Wageningen University, forthcoming research will focus on how end-users define their own personal eating style and factors that influence this eating style. The barriers and chances of the use of information about genetic background, as defined by end-users, will receive special attention.
- WHO (2002) The world health report 2002. Reducing risks, promoting healthy life. Geneva, World Healthy OrganisationGoogle Scholar
- Department of Health (2004) Choosing health: making healthy choices easier. Public Health White Paper; Command paper CM 6374, UKGoogle Scholar
- Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (2004) Living longer in good health—also a question of a healthy lifestyle. Report of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports. No. 19, The HagueGoogle Scholar
- Darnton-Hill I, Margetts B, Deckelbaum R (2004) Public health nutrition and genetics: implications for nutrition policy and promotion. Proc Nutr Soc 63:173–185PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Green LW, Kreuter MW (2005) Health program planning. An educational and ecological approach, 4th edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Green LW, Mercer SL (2001) Can public health researchers and agencies reconcile the push from funding bodies and the pull from communities? Am J Public Health 91(12):1926–1929PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Curry SJ, McBride C, Grothaus LC, Louie D, Wagner EH (2005) A randomized trial of self-help materials, personalized feedback, and telephone counselling with nonvolunteer smokers. J Consult Clin Psychol 63(6):1005–1014 (abstract)Google Scholar
- Bull FC, Kreuter MW, Scharff DP (1999) Effects of tailored, personalised and general health messages on physical activity. Patient Educ Couns 26:181–192View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Campbell MK, Honess-Morreale L, Farrel D, Carbone E, Brasure M (1999) A tailored multimedia nutrition education pilot program for low-income women receiving food assistance. Health Educ Res 14:257–267PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Brug J, Glanz K, van Assema P, Kok G, van Breukelen B (1998) The impact of computer-tailored feedback on fat, fruit and vegetable intake. Health Educ Behav 25:517–531PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Brug J, Steenhuis I, van Assema P, de Vries H (1996) The impact of computer-tailored nutrition intervention. Prev Med 25:236–242PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kreuter MW, Stretcher VJ (1996) Do tailored behaviour change messages enhance the effectiveness of health risk appraisals? Results from a randomized trial. Health Educ Res 11:97–105PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Contento I, Bach GI, Bronner YL, Lytle LA, Maloney SK, Olson CM, Sharaga Swadener S (1995) The effectiveness of nutrition education and implications for nutrition education policy, programs and research: a review of research. J Nutr Educ 27:277–420Google Scholar
- Campbell MK, DeVellis BM, Stretcher VJ, Ammerman AS, DeVellis RF, Sandler RS (1994) Improving dietary behaviour: the effectiveness of tailored messages in primary care settings. Am J Publ Health 84:783–787View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Stretcher VJ, Kreuter M, den Boer DJ, Kobrin S, Hospers HJ, Skinner CS (1994) The effects of computer-tailored smoking cessation messages in family practice settings. J Fam Pract 39:262–270Google Scholar
- Prochaska JO, Diclemente CC, Velicer WF, Rossi JS (1993) Standardized, individualized, interactive and personalized selfhelp programs for smoking cessation. Health Psychol 12(5):399–405PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Petty EP, Cacioppo JT (1986) Communication and persuasion: central and peripheral routes to attitude change. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Cain M, Schmid G (2003) From nutrigenomics science to personalized nutrition: the market in 2010. Report of the Institute for the Future, Silicon ValleyGoogle Scholar
- Massoud M, Ragozin H, Schmid G, Spaling L (2001) The future of nutrition: consumers engage with science. Institute for the Future. Report SR–731. Silicon ValleyGoogle Scholar