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Food and health: individual, cultural, or scientific matters?
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Disciplinary Research.
Department of Research and Development, University College Zealand, Sorø, Denmark.
Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
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2013 (English)In: Genes & Nutrition, ISSN 1555-8932, E-ISSN 1865-3499, Vol. 8, no 4, 357-363 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In personalized nutrition, food is a tool for good health, implying an instrumental relationship between food and health. Food receives a secondary value, while health would appear to be a descriptive biological concept. This article gives an introduction to cultural understandings of food and health. The wider definition of food and health is explored in relation to the commonly used scientific approach that tends to take a more reductionist approach to food and health. The different discourses on food and health are being discussed in relation to ethical aspects of personalized nutrition. The success of personalized nutrition is likely dependent upon the ability to integrate the scientific approach with everyday cultural, emotional, ethical, and sensual understandings of food. Health theories can be divided into two principal rival types—biostatistical and holistic. Biostatistical focuses on survival, while holistic focuses on ability as a precondition for health. Arguments in favor of a holistic and individualistic theory of health and illness are presented. This implies a focus on the ability of the individual to realize his or her “vital goals.” A holistic and individualistic health concept may have a reinforcing effect on the individualized approach in personalized nutrition. It allows focus on individual health premises and related dietary means of health promotion, as well as an individualized perspective on the objectives of health promotion. An individualistic notion of health also indicates that people with high levels of vital goals benefit more easily. To reach beyond these groups is likely difficult. This potential injustice should be balanced with global preventive medical programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 8, no 4, 357-363 p.
Keyword [en]
Personalized nutrition, Ethics, Food, Health
National Category
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20863DOI: 10.1007/s12263-013-0336-8ISI: 000320733200004Local ID: HLKövrigtISOAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-20863DiVA: diva2:611936
Projects
Food4Me
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme
Note

This study was conducted on behalf of the Food4Me project. Food4Me is the acronym of the EU FP7 project: “Personalised nutrition: an integrated analysis of opportunities and challenges” (Contract No. KBBE.2010.2.3-02, Project No. 265494). The parties involved in the project are listed on the project’s Web site http://www.food4me.org/. Project coordination was carried out at University College Dublin, Ireland, Institute of Food and Health; Project Coordinator: Professor Michael J Gibney, Project Manager: Dr. Marianne Walsh. For overall correspondence regarding the Food4Me project: Professor Michael J Gibney, UCD Institute of Food and Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, Tel: +353 (1) 716 2824, e-mail: mike.gibney@ucd.ie.

Available from: 2013-03-19 Created: 2013-03-19 Last updated: 2016-09-21Bibliographically approved

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