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CRN-I Conference Report Calls for Holistic Approach to Nutrition and Wellness

Manno, Switzerland, 5 May 2017Nutrition recommendations and policy need to continue to evolve in parallel with advances in science and technology in order to provide solutions to contemporary public health challenges, concludes a new report titled “Optimal Nutrition and the Ever-Changing Dietary Landscape—A Conference Report,” published online May 5 in the European Journal of Nutrition.1

Coauthored by 10 scientific experts, the report examines trends and data in global public health and offers insights into systems approaches, tracking and analyzing "big data," use of key nutritional and dietary supplements, personalized interventions, dealing with obesity (visible and invisible), use of dynamic biomarkers, and other perspectives. The report details presentations made by the coauthors at the CRN-International (CRN-I) seventh annual scientific symposium, held 2 December 2016, in Hamburg, Germany.

“We wanted to get involved in the conversation of defining nutrition,” said James C. Griffiths, Ph.D., vice president, scientific & international affairs, CRN-I, and a coauthor of the report. “Instead of focusing on one, specific element of the nutritional landscape, the coauthors felt it was important to survey the bigger picture and focus on the contemporary challenges facing public health. There exists a complex web of interactions between nutritional, social, and environmental factors that informs health and wellness. It’s imperative that we recognize these factors—unique to every individual—and work to provide both quantitative and qualitative solutions that can make a considerable impact on the quality of people’s lives.”

The coauthors recognize that a generic definition of optimal nutrition would be “the most desirable or satisfactory, most favorable, most effective act or process of nourishing or being nourished.” Observing trends in overfed, but undernourished populations, the coauthors note that global diets have become rich in calories but poor in essential nutrients, resulting in obesity and nutrient deficiencies. “Most of the world’s population has inadequate intake of one of more of the essential vitamins and minerals,” the report reads. “It is critical to develop models that address the complexities of micronutrient interventions [...] The absence of such programs is an unacceptable gap in our public health system.” The coauthors suggest the implementation of food fortification programs, the development of nutrient-rich, energy-balanced foods, and supplementation programs—all of which have overwhelming supportive evidence—is an important step toward healthier lives worldwide.

“Optimal nutrition is not a one size fits all concept,” emphasized Dr. Griffiths. “What may be optimal for one person or region may not be translatable across the broad spectrum of environmental, biological, or socioeconomic variation. Though this year’s proceedings do not offer an ultimate answer or solution, we hope to set the stage for more robust and detailed discussion within the scientific and regulatory community about designing a roadmap of nutritional recommendations that reflect a more holistic, personalized approach. We hope to expand on this topic at upcoming CRN-I conferences.”

In addition to Dr. Griffiths, the coauthors of the report are: Andrew Shao, Ph. D., Herbalife Nutrition; Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., University of Washington; D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D., Okinawa International University; Lisa Krämer, M. Sc.; Technische Universität Braunschweig; Christopher Lausted, Institute for Systems Biology; Mannfred Eggersdorfer, Ph.D., DSM Nutritional Products; John Mathers, Ph.D., Newcastle University; Jimmy Bell, Ph.D., University of Westminster; R. Keith Randolph, Ph.D., Amway Global Discovery; and Renger Witkamp, Ph.D., Wageningen University.

This is the seventh publication of CRN-I conference proceedings. Previous reports were published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology and, for the last five years, in the European Journal of Nutrition. Abstracts of published proceedings are available on the CRN-I website in multiple languages.

1 Shao, A, Drewnowski, A, Willcox, DC, et al. Optimal Nutrition and the Ever-Changing Dietary Landscape—A Conference Report. Eur J Nutr. 2017 May 5 doi:10.1007/s00394-017-1460-9


Note to Editor: CRN-I is a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry. To learn more about CRN-I, please visit www.crn-i.ch.