Driving research in infant and children's nutrition: A perspective on industry

Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Evansville, IN, and the Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, MI, USA.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 04/2009; 89(5):1530S-1532S. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27113I
Source: PubMed


As part of the workshop entitled "Early Risk Determinants and Later Health Outcomes: Implications for Research Prioritization and the Food Supply" (8-9 July 2008, Washington, DC), which was cosponsored by the International Life Sciences Institute of North America and the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation, representatives of the food industry discussed the practical application of nutrition science. Nutrition plays a key role in guiding health outcomes throughout the life cycle. In particular, the prenatal, postnatal, and early childhood periods are extremely sensitive to the presence of appropriate nutrition. A growing body of evidence shows that early nutrition may program the unborn and the infant's key physiologic systems, including the endocrine, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems, to influence later life outcomes. While scientists in academia continue to explore the multifactorial nature of early risk determinants and later life outcomes at a mechanistic and basic science level, it is important to understand the potential of the infant and child food industries to address questions such as what factors have been noted to drive research in these sectors of the food industry. How can scientists in these industries work alongside the scientists in academia and in government to set priorities, make decisions around these health issues, and translate academic insights into innovative nutritional solutions for the benefit of public health? Given the commitment of the infant and child food industries to deliver scientifically supported early life nutrition, it is easy to understand why this industry would work in partnership with both the scientists in academia and the government to identify a means of addressing the fundamental questions of this workshop.

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    • "Childhood can be considered to extend from 1 year of age to the beginning of adolescence. Early childhood (1–5 years) is an extremely sensitive period to the presence of appropriate nutrition (Rai & Larson 2009) and can be considered as a vulnerable population group. Adolescence is a time of dramatic change as the relatively uniform growth of childhood is suddenly altered by an increase in growth velocity. "
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    ABSTRACT: The International Life Sciences Institute North American Branch, in conjunction with the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation, on 8-9 July 2008, sponsored the workshop "Early Risk Determinants and Later Health Outcomes: Implications for Research Prioritization and the Food Supply." A primary objective was to focus on the relative influence of genetics and environmental factors, particularly in relation to specific nutrients and food components, on determinants of risk within the developmental stages of pregnancy, infancy (0-12 mo), and early childhood (</=5 y of age). A panel of experts concluded the workshop by providing their reactions to the papers presented while attempting to identify the critical time windows and the research gaps and challenges for future research. This was followed by a discussion of how the food industry might assist in the acquisition and translation of the knowledge of the determinants of disease to improve human health.
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