Nestle and GE team-up to tackle nutrition-body composition issues

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition Obesity

Understanding the associations between body composition, metabolic
status, diet and lifestyle habits could be key to the struggle
against obesity, and gaining an advantage in formulation.

Making a head start in this area, Nestlé Research Center (NRC) has announced a new collaboration with General Electric (GE) Global Research to gain access to GE's cutting edge technology. "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." ​ Nestlé is in the midst of transforming from a general food company into a health, nutrition and wellness company. Such a transformation is heavily reliant on R&D and the current annual spend of the company is reportedly almost €1bn. R&D at NRC is also reliant on collaboration, and, according to the terms of the new GE team-up, Nestlé scientists will get access to GE Healthcare's Lunar iDXA system, an innovative imaging technology that allows the measurement of body fat, muscle and bone mineral density. The data generated would go beyond current limited measures of body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip-ratio, states the NRC. According to NRC, scientists will work on two fronts: Developing non-invasive, rapid, precise and accurate assessment tools for clinicians to evaluate the impact of nutritional interventions on metabolic status and overall health; and using this data to 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 of 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." Established collaborations ​ It has been a busy week for the Nestlé Research Center as news of the GE collaboration follows hot on the heels of last week's announcement of a new international collaboration involving NRC, Alberto Santos Dumont Association for Science (Brazil), and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) to evaluate the influence of individual genetic make-up on taste sensitivity. An agreement with EPFL, signed in November 2006, is Nestlé's largest collaboration with a university or research institute. The deal, costing the company up to CHF 5 million (€ 3.1 million) every year for five years, was focused on the role of nutrition in cognitive development in children, the prevention of cognitive decline in the elderly, to better understand the gut-brain axis, and the how humans smell, taste and see food Nestlé's support will fund the establishment of two endowed chairs at EPFL, fund specific projects to support the fundamental science, and then push for clinical trials and full development of potentially beneficial ingredients or food products.

Related topics Markets Nestlé

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