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US nutritionists attempt to form consensus over definition of 'personalized nutrition'

2020-01-22 14:57 Wednesday

A US organization specializing in the promotion of professionalism in the functional food and healthy eating field has put forward its own definition of "personalized nutrition" in an attempt to standardize the term and raise awareness of its benefits.

The definition was recently proposed by the recently-formed American Nutrition Association (AMA), which says such standardization attempts are crucial for the acceptance, expansion and utilization of the functional food and nutrition industry.


In an article published online in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition recently, a spokesperson wrote: "Personalized nutrition is a field that leverages human individuality to drive nutrition strategies to prevent, treat and manage disease and optimize health."

"Building on the seminal work of pioneers across many disciplines, this definition can serve as a springboard to embed personalized nutrition in the healthcare system."

The paper was co-authored by representatives from the AMA, along with researchers from University of Toronto, Tufts University, Maryland University of Integrated Health, and others.

In particular, the article refers to 3 key elements or areas that typify the field of personalized nutrition, namely: data and science, professional training and education, and therapeutics and guidance.

According to the authors, data and science builds on understanding and knowledge obtained from observation and randomized controlled trials along with information from crowd-sourced projects.

They stated: "Advanced and emerging technologies also contribute to the robust personalized nutrition knowledge base. Marrying methods and tech enables better understanding of the impact of nutrition interventions on individuals and groups of people based on particular inputs and variables."

Professional training and education is described as bringing together traditional concepts of clinical care with advanced personalized nutrition recommendations for the management of disease and the promotion of health.

"Personalized nutrition should be utilized by a variety of health care professionals and training and education should be appropriate to the level of application," said the authors. "The clinical efficacy of personalized nutrition requires practitioners to be adequately trained to apply this knowledge in practice."

Furthermore, therapeutics and guidance is described as referring to clinical methodologies that place the client or patient at the center of the healthcare process to develop meaningful interventions.

The report states: "In the personalized nutrition paradigm, disease and health are not viewed as binary... Systems are not viewed in isolation, but in relationship to one another.

"The personalized nutrition practitioner can map areas of greatest importance across systems and function in order to more fully understand an individual's nutritional needs and phenotype and advise accordingly."

According to Corinne Bush, ANA's Director of Nutrition Science and Education, personalized nutrition interventions based on a person's biochemistry, genome, microbiome and other factors hold a widespread potential to tackle chronic disease and promote optimal health, industry media reported.

Bush said: "PN is core to human health, yet its tremendous potential must be catalyzed if we're to move it to the core of healthcare... As with any nascent discipline, PN must be further evolved if it's to become a recognised, scalable and respected discipline."

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