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TiFN and ZonMw present Delta Plan Nutrition Research to Dutch ministries

5 April 2018 – Today, the Delta Plan Nutrition Research was presented to the directors of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The Delta Plan provides the framework for the themes and research questions upon which the Netherlands should focus in order to develop groundbreaking innovations. Innovations that will lead to a healthy and sustainable supply of food products that the consumer will want to eat.

The Delta Plan Nutrition Research framework identifies the themes and knowledge questions to which the Netherlands should deploy resources to realize breakthroughs. The Plan calls for significant improvement in the coordination and prioritization of nutritional research in the Netherlands. A more coherent and integrated research policy is needed to increase the impact of nutritional research.

The three main themes of the Delta Plan

  1. Sustainable food and sustainable nutrition: the Netherlands should invest in the development of a framework to assess the sustainability and health characteristics of (ingredients of) food products. Research into how we can optimally use soil, water and raw materials must also be given priority, as should increasing the availability of healthy and sustainable products in shops.
  2. Nutrition and behavior: more knowledge is needed about how to make healthy and sustainable choices self-evident. Knowledge and insights about the determinants of food choice and eating behavior must be translated into effective interventions and policy measures. It is important to understand how (existing) interventions might reinforce each other.
  3. Nutrition and health: the Plan advocates research, into the relationship between nutrition and health, that addresses the entire spectrum from prevention to treatment. This requires more knowledge about the effects and mechanisms-of-action of diet in the prevention and treatment of diseases. This will need large-scale, long-term intervention research and fundamental studies. The added value of a personalized-nutrition approach to general dietary guidelines also merits research.

Rob Beudeker, Theme Director Nutrition and Health, was closely involved in the development of the Delta Plan: “Several Dutch research institutes and universities are among the world leaders in nutrition research. Joining forces will lead to real solutions for environmental, societal and health problems that are linked to nutrition. The Delta Plan is the first step to achieving optimal coordination and prioritization.”