DietBB Seminar Series: "Personalised nutrition: a route to bigger public health benefit?"

April 18, 2016

Prof. John C. Mathers, Director, Human Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Cellular Medicine and Institute for Ageing, Newcastle University, will talk about his work and will give an overview about the questions of individuality of getting food in the context of a healthy way of life.

Personalised nutrition: a route to bigger public health benefit? Professor John C. Mathers, Human Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, UK Health is plastic and results from interactions between individual genotype and exposures plus the play of chance. Important exposures which contribute to poor health include smoking, lack of physical activity and unhealthy dietary patterns. Therefore interventions which change lifestyle factors, including improving dietary choices, have considerable potential to enhance public health. However, despite considerable research on interventions to improve diet, the effect size achieved in such interventions is usually relatively modest, especially in the longer term. To date, most interventions have been targeted at populations using ‘one size fits all’ public health recommendations e.g. “eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables daily”. However, the global burden of premature death and chronic ill-health continues to rise and this emphasises the need for more effective prevention strategies. It has been argued that a personalised approach to nutritional advice may be more effective than the conventional “one size fits all” approach because the advice and support offered may be more relevant to each individual. A personalised (or stratified) approach to provision of dietary advice is predicated on knowledge of key characteristics of those to whom the intervention is being delivered. The more personalised (or tailored) the intervention is the more sophisticated, and potentially expensive, will be the process for acquiring, analysing and acting upon those participant characteristics. I will discuss the design of, and principle findings from, the Food4Me intervention study ( which tested the hypothesis that a personalised nutrition approach produces bigger, and more appropriate, changes in dietary behaviour than a conventional “one size fits all” approach. The Food4Me intervention was delivered via the internet to >1500 participants across 7 European countries. I will also explore the benefits of using phenotypic and genotypic information in personalising nutritional interventions.

Celis-Morales C, Livingstone KM et al. & Mathers JC. (2015) Genes Nutr. 10:450. ‘Design and baseline characteristics of the Food4Me study: a web-based randomised controlled trial of personalised nutrition in seven European countries’.

Celis-Morales C, Lara J & Mathers JC (2015) Proc Nutr Soc. 74:130-8. ‘Personalising nutritional guidance for more effective behaviour change’.


Time and location of the seminar:

17:00-17:45 auditorium XVII, EG, Nußallee 17.

For further information about Prof. John C. Mathers.


Next Meetings (planned): 09.05. T1; 13.06. TA5; 11.07. TA2