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DSM, Patient groups and partners launch ‘Call to Action’ on nutrition and health

Kaiseraugst, CH, 29 Mar 2011 13:00 CEST

On the occasion of Biovision, the 7th World Life Sciences Forum, patient organizations, EGAN (the patient’s network for medical research and health); the IGA (International Genetic Alliance); the IOF (International Osteoporosis Foundation); and DSM, joined forces to raise awareness of the importance of nutrition in promoting public health and reducing risks of chronic or genetic diseases.

All partners today co-signed a ‘call to action’ urging Europe’s health ministers to:

  • Implement campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of micronutrients in the diet
  • Ensure that health professionals fully understand the consequences of micronutrient deficiency
  • Promote research in the field of nutrition
  • Provide fact-based information on the role of micronutrients in minimizing disease burden and saving on healthcare costs
  • Ensure health professionals can offer effective nutrition care programs to patients

Promoting public, private, partnerships, the signatories invite Europe’s health ministers, the WHO and the European Commission to work together to increase quality of life for patients, and achieve cost-effective disease prevention. It also calls for a ‘scaling-up’ of fortification or supplementation programs in high risk groups to tackle specific population based health problems.

Dr. Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice-President DSM commented: “There is significant scientific agreement that nutrition plays a key role in human health, and yet, with changing lifestyles, habits and diets, there is a constant challenge to avoid micronutrient deficiency. In promoting the ‘call to action’, we want to ensure that health care decision-makers fully understand the benefits of micronutrients, and their role in avoiding the devastating social and economic impacts of ill-health.”

Professor René Rizzoli, Geneva university hospitals and Faculty of medicine spokesperson from the IOF specifically highlighted the importance of vitamin D: “For older people, especially women, who are at risk of osteoporosis, the simple message to increase vitamin D and calcium intake can make a dramatic difference to their health outcomes and quality of life, as well as potentially reducing a huge disease burden on healthcare systems worldwide. That’s why we’ve signed the call to action on nutrition and health.”

Alastair Kent, spokesperson and secretary general for EGAN/IGA also noted: “Patient groups have an urgent need for reliable information on the role nutrition can play in improving health, and yet they scarcely have the time or resources to keep up with the latest research developments. We believe international partnerships are vital if we are to deliver on the promise of nutrition in improving public health and patients lives.”