The mission of the Nutrition Disparity Network (NDN) is to promote healthy dietary patterns among disadvantaged population groups through interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborative research. The focus of NDN is on socioeconomic disparities and inequities in diet within and outside the Netherlands, with an orientation towards health potential rather than health difference. Questions to be addressed that reflect these dynamics include: 'why do we eat what we eat?' and 'how do we create a rich exchange of views and collaboration to jointly increase potential for healthy nutrition?'
To advance nutrition-related health equity, NDN will direct attention to early stages of life and the economic and social conditions of those who may benefit most from dietary improvements. The network will emphasize citizen science and participatory approaches to ensure that research is reflective of the complexities of everyday life. In this way, the perspectives, needs, and priorities of those who are the focus of research will be center core. Furthermore, the network will encourage critical reflection on the routinely hidden norms and values underlying diet and nutrition, such as what a “healthy” life entails.
Building from the 4-year research and training program of the Edema-Steernberg Foundation (2017-2021) – which stimulated scientific research and knowledge exchange on the social determinants of dietary habits – NDN objectives include:
- Fostering intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration on nutrition research by bringing together a consortium of academic, public, and community partners.
- Facilitating an exchange of knowledge and ideas on how to achieve nutrition equity.
- Exploring external funding possibilities for research and for building and sustaining the network.
By reflecting the complexities surrounding diet and nutrition in everyday life, the activities of the network will result in research that matters for research, policy, and practice. Overall, the collaboration and unique research focus of the network aims to result in high quality research to inform comprehensive strategies to address and reduce nutrition disparities.