Partners for personalized nutrition: EASO joins EU H2020 initiative PROTEIN

Partners for personalized nutrition: EASO joins EU H2020 initiative PROTEIN

12 Mar 2019 --- The European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) has become a partner in the H2020 PROTEIN project, which is led by a group of European public and private sector organizations seeking to promote health and wellbeing. The project aims to develop tools to personalize support for the nutrition and physical activity of EU citizens, through the use of novel communication and machine learning technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

PROTEIN (PeRsOnalized nutriTion for hEalthy livINg) is a European Commission Horizon 2020 funded initiative for research, consumer and industry partners and was launched three years ago. 

Nutrition and physical activity are crucial in the fight against noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. With the use of proper tools and resources, individuals can develop and maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. However, social and cultural factors come into play and may inhibit people’s ability to do so, says PROTEIN. This raises the need for more personalization in resources and tools to meet individual needs.

The association says that “researchers will assess what works best for particular people, and PROTEIN will deliver personalized support and resources to individual consumers making use of pioneering technologies which enable personalized recommendations.”

“New advances in information technologies, particularly in wearable sensors, big data analysis and machine learning techniques, as well as in direct-to-consumer genetic testing, blood and gut microbiome analysis, open up new opportunities for researchers to monitor and collect information related to our dietary behaviors,” notes PROTEIN Project Lead Lazaros Gymnopoulos.

Click to EnlargeTechnologies range from wearable fitness trackers to DNA and microbiome testing and are driving the demand for nutrition that has been tailored for a specific individual. 

Innova Market Insights has listed “Eating for Me” as its number 6 top trend for 2019, reflecting the growing demand for individualized nutritional options. Advances in technology allow for greater diversification. Consumers are adopting nutritional patterns based on health and ethical criteria. The notion of “food that works for me” has only intensified with an increasing array of options becoming available. 

The path towards a personalized approach 
PROTEIN’s partners will engage consumers through grocery stores, online supermarkets, restaurants and shops to develop a platform of tools and resources which can personalize dietary programs and physical activity plans. The project aims to provide a suite of tools individuals can use to personalize healthier grocery purchases and physical activity habits based on their own needs and preferences.

“The PROTEIN project aims to support personalized choices when shopping for nutritious and enjoyable food, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle when combined with an activity guide,” says Duncan Russell of Ocado Technology, one of the partner companies. 

“The research, development and trials in the project will help us evaluate how the mobile app uses sensors and AI to inform the individual about appropriate selections that make online grocery shopping part of managing health for you and your family,” he adds. 

The group of experts enlisted includes machine learning experts, dietitians, medical clinicians, physical activity professionals, biomedical experts and social scientists, who will all work together to implement this innovative and enterprising research program.

“It is an ambitious project that aims to change the way we engage in healthy eating and physical activity across communities and within populations. Whether you are a person living with a chronic disease, an elite athlete or an ordinary citizen interested in improving your overall health and wellbeing, PROTEIN tools and resources could help you achieve your personal goals,” the association notes.

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