Wageningen University & Research is contributing to a world in which all people are willing and able to choose a diet that seamlessly matches their individual needs. The 'Personalized Nutrition & Health' programme explores the best ways to support people in choosing the right nutrition for them.
Personalized coaching is based on innovative technological ways of measuring health and nutritional intake. The results are translated into appropriate advice while taking socio-psychological aspects into account to optimise the chances of the advice actually being followed. This combination of technological and socio-psychological innovation is a genuinely pioneering approach.
The big picture breakthrough required by today's expensive health care system is prevention. Mass-media education and campaigns have not proven effective in sustainably changing the lifestyles of individuals, which is why Wageningen University & Research is focused on developing services that allow people to quickly and accurately measure their health and nutritional intake, and receive personalized advice on that basis. Research also is looking into how to provide fast and objective feedback via new measuring technologies. This will help ensure people are willing and able to maintain their healthy behaviour, with custom advice based on each individual’s personality traits.
One of the recently conducted projects with promising results is called Fibre UP. Experts investigated which advisory methods could best be used to increase the fibre intake of both healthy consumers and people with constipation complaints. The parties involved were Gelderse Vallei Hospital, the Gastric Liver Disease Foundation (MLDS) and six companies (Sonneveld, Sensus, Bolletje, Kellogg's, Nederlands Bakkerij Centrum and Roquette).
As part of this project, Wageningen Food and Biobased Research developed a digital advisory tool in collaboration with TNO, Wageningen Economic Research, WU Human Nutrition & Health and WU Microbiology. The tool provides individuals with personalized nutritional advice based on their eating behaviour, preferences and other characteristics such as health status, vegetarianism or their favourite meal time.
In addition to detailed product information (related to aspects like ingredients, nutrients and allergens), suitability for target groups and meal times, they receive scientifically based knowledge from dieticians, nutritionists and behavioural scientists. Users gain insight into the role of good nutrition in maintaining and optimising their health. The risk of nutrition-related chalenges such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease is also reduced.
The use of the tool encouraged and empowered participants in the Fibre UP study to eat more dietary fibre. Afterwards, the participants reported to appreciate the advisory tool because of its uplifting and relaxed tone along with the freedom of choice on offer.