Profile of European adults interested in internet-based personalised nutrition: the Food4Me study

An Erratum to this article was published on 12 March 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Personalised interventions may have greater potential for reducing the global burden of non-communicable diseases and for promoting better health and well-being across the lifespan than the conventional “one size fits all” approach. However, the characteristics of individuals interested in personalised nutrition (PN) are unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of European adults interested in taking part in an internet-based PN study.

Methods

Individuals from seven European countries (UK, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Greece and Poland) were invited to participate in the study via the Food4Me website (http://www.food4me.org). Two screening questionnaires were used to collect data on socio-demographic, anthropometric and health-related characteristics as well as dietary intakes.

Results

A total of 5662 individuals expressed an interest in the study (mean age 40 ± 12.7; range 15–87 years). Of these, 65 % were female and 97 % were Caucasian. Overall, 13 % were smokers and 47 % reported the presence of a clinically diagnosed disease. Furthermore, 47 % were overweight or obese and 35 % were sedentary during leisure time. Assessment of dietary intakes showed that 54 % of individuals reported consuming at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, 46 % consumed more than 3 servings of wholegrains and 37 % limited their salt intake to <5.75 g per day.

Conclusions

Our data indicate that individuals volunteering to participate in an internet-based PN study are broadly representative of the European adult population, most of whom had adequate nutrient intakes but could benefit from improved dietary choices and greater physical activity. Future use of internet-based PN approaches is thus relevant to a wide target audience.

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Abbreviations

CVD:

Cardiovascular disease

FFQ:

Food frequency questionnaire

NCD:

Non-communicable diseases

PN:

Personalised nutrition

PoP:

Proof of principle

RCT:

Randomised controlled trial

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Acknowledgments

Study approval: The Food4Me study has been reviewed and approved by seven independent ethical research committees in each of the countries involved in the trial. Patient consent: All participants, both screened and randomised, have given consent to take part in this study. Funding statement: This work was supported by the European Commission under the Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development [265494].

Conflict of interest

None of the authors had a personal or financial conflict of interest.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to John C. Mathers.

Additional information

Trial registration—Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01530139 (http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01530139).

On behalf of the Food4Me Study.

Katherine M Livingstone and Carlos Celis-Morales are joint first authors.

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Livingstone, K.M., Celis-Morales, C., Navas-Carretero, S. et al. Profile of European adults interested in internet-based personalised nutrition: the Food4Me study. Eur J Nutr 55, 759–769 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-0897-y

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Keywords

  • Personalised nutrition
  • European profile
  • Tailored intervention
  • Internet-based
  • Randomised controlled trial