Food4Health is a collaboration between EIT Health and EIT Food. Launched in 2019, it aims to mobilise major European players from industry, government, research and education, to improve the health and well-being of European citizens with innovations for healthy eating.
A nutritionally balanced diet helps to maintain a healthy mind and body. Yet, making healthy food choices is not always as easy as it seems. Obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are commonly caused by excess calorie intake and the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt. As the prevalence of these diseases is on the rise, the awareness of the importance of food in overall health and wellbeing is lacking.
Our nutrition requirements also vary depending on our age and our physical and emotional status. By adjusting our diet, food can also be used to prevent or recover faster from illness. To take full advantage of this, there is a need to better understand the role of food in healthcare.
As these issues are best addressed via a multisector approach, EIT Health and EIT Food have combined forces to build the Food4Health collaboration. Through their joint activities, the strengths and expertise of the partners of both networks can be leveraged to make a greater impact in the area of food and health.
By establishing the Food4Health collaboration, the two networks aim to:
In the coming years, we intend to strengthen the collaboration through the delivery of the outcomes of the two projects and by initiating other projects and activities that link food and health. The long-term goal is to establish a way of working that can be sustained for many years to come.
Metabolic Syndrome (MetSyn) is the combination of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist, high cholesterol and high blood lipid levels. Having these conditions can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes with such diseases accounting for 86% of deaths in Europe. MetSyn and related diseases are often linked to eating high-calorie, low-fibre foods and reduced physical activity. At least 25% of adults suffer from MetSyn, while many more exhibit several of the risk factors without knowing. By reversing these conditions through changes in consumer behaviour, it is possible to prevent MetSyn as well as the development of more serious diseases. The project STOP MetSyn aims to help up to 100 million European consumers who appear healthy but may exhibit one or more of the conditions linked to MetSyn. It will deliver methods, tools and strategies to help consumers make better choices in their eating and lifestyle habits.
30-85% of patients undergoing cancer treatment suffer from malnutrition. This is the result of reduced food intake due to stress, pain, and swallowing problems combined with increased energy usage, inflammation and vitamin deficiencies. Anti-cancer treatments can make things worse by causing nausea, sickness, loss of appetite, and taste alteration, all of which accelerates weight loss. However, it is the loss of muscle mass in particular that increases the likelihood of complications, which negatively affects the prognosis and survival rate of cancer patients. Maintaining muscle mass is therefore of critical importance in enabling patients to fully benefit from cancer treatment. The project MuscleCancer aims to address this challenge by incorporating nutrition and exercise into cancer treatment programs to prevent malnutrition and muscle mass loss in cancer patients. Through the combined partnership of EIT Food and EIT Health, experts in diagnostics, nutrition and physical activity together with healthcare providers are well-positioned to drive innovations that can make an impact in this field.
Knowing what to eat and being physically more active can be challenging.
The Food4Health project STOP MetSyn has designed a program that uses your biological data to help you build healthy habits! You have the freedom to choose your own goals, focussing on healthy eating and physical activity. You will also work with a coach who will support you in setting achievable goals and reaching them!
Metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) represents a clustering of conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and diabetes. MetSyn is present in approximately 25% of all adults with increased prevalence in advanced ages. What is commonly unknown is that having MetSyn increases the risk of developing other serious diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. Many people exhibit the risk factors but are not even aware of their condition. This undiagnosed (pre-disease) state could be reversed through changes in diet and lifestyle, thus preventing MetSyn and reducing this major health threat to European citizens.
Colruyt Group believes that retailers can also play an important role in helping consumers make healthy choices. As the instigator of the EIT Food4Health project STOP MetSyn, we spoke with Veerle Poppe, Sustainability Strategist and EIT Lead at Colruyt, to hear why they decided to join the Food4Health programme.
Danone Nutricia Research have been a driving force in innovation in nutrition for cancer patients and were the initiators of the EIT Food4Health project, MuscleCancer. To understand why Danone is participating in the Food4Health programme, we spoke to Artem Khlebnikov, Strategic Partnerships Director at Danone.