A common Strategic Research Agenda of 22 countries in Europe focusses on lifesyle changes towards healthy diets and improved physical activity. Biomarker research, nutrigenomics, perzonalized food supplies and the prevention of chronic lifestyle related diseases are key-fields of the Joint Programming Inititative " A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life." ( JPI HDHL) The EU-project "afresh" which regards jointly physical activity and nutrition, presented main findings during the congress, held in The Hague, Netherlands.
Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity are the main determinants for obesity, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. The rising prevalence of these diseases - globally and in Europe- poses such individual and societal risks, that research communities of 22 European countries decided to align their research programmes in food, health and physical activity in a Joint Programming Inititiative. Round 400 researchers, policy and economic stakeholders gathered on the first conference of this Joint Programming Initiative "A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life". The authors of the Initiative`s main documents point out that 80%-90 % of diet-related dieseases could potentially be avoided by changing lifestyle factors: "There is such a pressing need to quantify physical activity and sedentary behaviour combined with research on food choice and dietary intake to gain full insight into energy balance and obesity in European populations".
Supported by the EU Council, the intiators of the Initiative collaborate since 2010 in a well-developed management structure with a Management Board, a Scientific Advisory Bord and a Stakeholder Advisory Board. The main goal of the JPI is to better coordinate national research programmes and projects in health and diet related research as well as to complement resources and to avoid costly dupliction. Member States will have to deliver the necessary infrastructure to shape the capacity tackling the main societal challenges of the chronic lifestyle related dieseases. The Strategic Research Plan, which was drafted under the chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Hannelore Daniel from TU Munich, Germany, points out the need of cross-disciplinary as well as mulit-disciplinary efforts for an elucidation of the complexe determinants of unhealthy lifestyles which may ly in biological, physiological, social, social economic, behavioral, technological and spatial causes. Too high energy-density of complexe food supply is also regarded as one of the crucial factors as well as contemporary lifestyle patterns shaped by electronic lifestyles and stress as well as worsening social conditions.
The Strategic Research Agenda focusses on three research areas, all starting with data mapping, harmonization of methords and encompassing the establishment of research plattforms between 2012 and 2014. Between 2015 and 2019 the JPI aims at focussing on three main fields in the following primary initiatives: