Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Culture is in the amniotic fluid…?

At a pre-conference workshop of the 10th European Nutrition Conference in Paris I was one of the speakers on Acquisition of Food-Related Behaviours in Children. The first speaker of the day, Luc Marlier from Strasbourg, France, gave a very interesting and amusing talk on environmental influences on food choice very early in life. He presented his research that clearly indicates that children already obtain food preferences before birth, based on exposure to odours in the amniotic fluid. To which odours the child is exposed before birth is dependent on the eating habits and food choices of the mother. He claimed, therefore, that cultural environmental influences on food choice are already apparent in the womb. During the rest of the day the acquisition of food preferences in children was explored from a genetics perspective, from a social psychology perspective and from a public health perspective, and the important roles of parents, schools and marketing in influencing children’s food choices was highlighted. The different presentations will be made available via the Danone Institute website

Sunday, July 8, 2007

After a succesful ISBNPA conference: physical activity!

The sixth annual meeting of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity ended on June 23 with a closing session. Professor Tom Baranowski, the founder and first president of ISBNPA (on the right on the photo; the others are also former presidents of ISBNPA: Gaston Godin and Ron Kleinman), concluded that the conference was a succes with a record-high number of participants and presentations, with high-quality presentations addressing many key issues in behavioral nutrition and physical activity research. Tom Baranowski also stated that upcoming conferences should try to include more presentations on intervention studies, and that the society should continue to try to attract more researchers from countries and regions other that Western Europe, North America and Australia.

After the conference I partcipated in some intensive physical activity myself: a great 13-day bike tour through the westen part of Norway with my partner, Astrid (see how summer-like the higher mountains in Norway are in June). We cycled from Gol to Alesund and back, visiting the Sogne fjell and fjord and many other highlights.