Sunday, March 24, 2013

Who needs another project to optimise research into diet and health?

Enter a newly-announced, EU-backed project to optimise research into diet and health by pulling together scientists and research tools in order to make realistic recommendations in the area. Sounds like an overdue initiative to me when current estimates place 86 percent of deaths and 77 percent of the disease burden in Europe firmly on the doorstep of diet and lifestyle. I reckon the rest of the Western world would boast similar figures...

But talk about fiddling while Rome burns ... how’s this for a mouthful of meaningless waffle from the scientific coordinator of EuroDISH which is designed to assess the “current state of play” when it comes to diet and health before making “advanced and feasible” recommendations to the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures.

“To go beyond existing mappings, we will synthesise the results by integrating the needs for hard and soft research infrastructures as well as how these may be governed; as this may identify new emerging gaps and needs.”

While EuroDISH scientists are busily reinventing the wheel and the associated policy makers are issuing bland statements of meaningless jargon, the majority of the population continue blithely on their merry way doing all the unhealthy things and eating all the unhealthy foods that they know they shouldn’t. Meanwhile another, smaller segment of the population knows what it should be doing and should be eating and does it, while a smaller segment yet tries to spread a true wellness-focused, health-promotion message. Sadly, while these messages are already well-researched, well-documented and well-understood, they are much less well-funded than those of the big multinational corporations who market junk food and beverage, promote instant gratification and generate huge commercial profits above all else. I could add fear-mongering, disease-promoting, health and wellness-averse to the characteristics of these companies, but until individual consumers are rewarded for establishing and maintaining their health and wellbeing I expect it will be ever thus ... and yep, call me a cynic if you like.  

No comments: