Scientists will focus on the role of food supplements in women’s health, early childhood and adolescence at an upcoming scientific conference in London organised by the UK Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).
The conference, which is the second scientific event to be organised by CRN, will be chaired by Professor Jeya Henry, Oxford Brookes University, and will take place on 28 April 2009 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. It aims to explore the benefits and safe use of food supplements for reproductive health and during early childhood and adolescence, and to increase awareness of their safety and efficacy to health professionals, policy makers and communicators.
The event will cover a number of evolving key scientific topics, such as the potential for folic acid supplements to reduce the incidence and severity of neural tube defects, vascular disease and cancer; micronutrients and reproductive health issues; nutrient effects on brain development; and micronutrient status, cognition and behavioural problems.
“Few aspects of diet and health are of greater importance than ensuring good nutritional status of mothers during pregnancy and lactation and of infants and children,” said Professor David Richardson. “Nutritional factors during early development not only have short-term effects on growth, body composition and body functions, but also exert long-term effects on health including risk of disease in later life. Priority must be given to identifying safe and effective ways to improve reproductive health and the growth and development of children.”
Other issues to be discussed at the event are the factors influencing a woman’s decision to use food supplements, and the challenges to monitoring micronutrient intake data and the contribution from food supplements.
Professor Richardson said: “Monitoring nutrient intakes over time is hampered by the limited data and the lack of comparability between survey data collection and analysis. There is a need to estimate nutrient intake at a population level and to monitor the prevalence of intake excesses as well as deficiencies in order to inform the risk managers and policy makers about the safe use of food supplements.”
Speakers at the event will include Professor Helene McNulty (University of Ulster); Professor Lucilla Poston, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, Professor Ricardo Uauy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Santiago, Chile; Professor David Benton, University of Swansea, Professor Janet Cade, School of Psychology, University of Leeds and Dr France Bellisle, INSERM, Paris.