Nestlé plans to tackle obesity with science

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 15th May 2008

Nestlé, a world leading food manufacturer, is now attempting to create scientifically based foods to assist consumers in leading healthier lives.

The Nestlé Research Center will work in combination with GE Global Research, the General Electric Company’s centralized research and development organization, to scientifically assess associations between body composition, metabolic status, diet and lifestyle habits.

This unique relationship brings together the dynamic competencies of the Nestlé Research Center, experts in metabolism, nutrition and health research, and GE’s extensive knowledge in diagnostic technologies. A primary goal of the collaboration is to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between body composition, metabolic profile and health.

GE Healthcare’s Lunar iDXA system, an innovative imaging technology, will be used by Nestlé scientists to measure subjects’ body fat, muscle and bone mineral density, extending beyond the limited measures of body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip-ratio. Researchers will study the correlations between lifestyle habits, body composition measurements and metabolic data to better understand the biological drivers of individuals’ metabolism and health.

“Through this collaboration with GE we have the opportunity to use cutting-edge diagnostic tools to increase our understanding of how nutrition and lifestyle choices impact body composition and metabolic health,” said Prof. Peter van Bladeren, Head of Nestlé Science and Research. “With this knowledge, Nestlé can continue to deliver science-based nutritional products to improve and enhance the quality of peoples’ lives.”

The results will provide direction for the development of non-invasive, rapid, precise and accurate assessment tools for clinicians to evaluate the impact of nutritional interventions on metabolic status and overall health. Additionally, this data will help researchers identify specific metabolic parameters that can potentially be improved via diet and lifestyle.

“In the face of a worldwide obesity epidemic, providing better tools to track the functional benefits of weight management, nutrition and lifestyle has become an international healthcare priority,” said Mark Little, Senior Vice President and Director, GE Global Research. “The use of GE’s diagnostic tools will provide Nestlé scientists with more information on how diet and lifestyle measures can be optimized to help people lead healthier lives and ultimately make healthcare systems more efficient by more effectively managing and treating obesity.”

With obesity a major issue in many western countries, the findings of their research will be monitored with fascination – particularly by food manufacturers, many of which are now looking to provide healthier foods to keep up with consumer trends and demand.