The recently formed American Nutrition Association (ANA) has developed a definition for personalised nutrition in a bid to place PN at the heart of a new “healthcare landscape”. 

The new grouping, a coalition of five prominent US nutrition organisations, believes that the new thinking and science behind personalised nutrition can be harnessed to reverse the current global epidemic of chronic disease. 

Speaking at the ANA’s launch in November 2019, the Associations’s CEO Michael Stroka, said: “There is a profound ‘nutrition gap’: relative to its power, we vastly under-utilise nutrition in our health system and culture. One key reason is that most health professionals are untrained in nutrition science and practice. As a unified professional association, the ANA addresses the chronic disease crisis by equipping health professionals with the science and practice of personalised nutrition.”

Now, via a paper published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the group has proposed a definition for personalised nutrition (PN), which its says is necessary for the acceptance, utilisation and expansion of the field. 

The proposed definition reads: Personalised nutrition is a field that leverages human individuality to drive nutrition strategies that prevent, manage and treat disease and optimise health.

“Despite the evidence that it is core to a comprehensive approach to addressing complex chronic disease and promoting human health, personalised nutrition is largely absent from our healthcare culture and system”

“Building on the seminal work done by pioneers across many disciplines, this definition can serve as a springboard to embed PN in the healthcare system to prevent, treat and manage disease, and optimise human health,” wrote the authors. 

ANA argues that PN is the “most important lever for preventing and reversing chronic illness and obesity”, and asserts that poor nutrition “poses a greater threat than tobacco, inactivity or any other risk factor”.

However, the paper’s authors say that a formally agreed definition – and its additionally proposed 3-element strategy, built around PN science and data, PN professional education and training and PN guidance and therapeutics – is needed for the full potential of PN to be recognised and enabled. They write: “Despite the evidence that it is core to a comprehensive approach to addressing complex chronic disease and promoting human health, personalised nutrition is largely absent from our healthcare culture and system.”

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