• Attitudes toward genetic testing and personalised nutrition in a representative sample of European consumers

      Stewart-Knox, Barbara; Bunting, B.P.; Gilpin, S.; Parr, H.J.; Pinhao, S.; Strain, J.J.; de Almeida, M.D.V.; Gibney, M.J. (2009)
      Negative consumer opinion poses a potential barrier to the application of nutrigenomic intervention. The present study has aimed to determine attitudes toward genetic testing and personalised nutrition among the European public. An omnibus opinion survey of a representative sample aged 14-55+ years (n 5967) took place in France, Italy, Great Britain, Portugal, Poland and Germany during June 2005 as part of the Lipgene project. A majority of respondents (66 %) reported that they would be willing to undergo genetic testing and 27 % to follow a personalised diet. Individuals who indicated a willingness to have a genetic test for the personalising of their diets were more likely to report a history of high blood cholesterol levels, central obesity and/or high levels of stress than those who would have a test only for general interest. Those who indicated that they would not have a genetic test were more likely to be male and less likely to report having central obesity. Individuals with a history of high blood cholesterol were less likely than those who did not to worry if intervention foods contained GM ingredients. Individuals who were aware that they had health problems associated with the metabolic syndrome appeared particularly favourable toward nutrigenomic intervention. These findings are encouraging for the future application of personalised nutrition provided that policies are put in place to address public concern about how genetic information is used and held.
    • Factors influencing European consumer uptake of personalised nutrition. Results of a qualitative analysis

      Stewart-Knox, Barbara; Kuznesof, S.; Robinson, J.; Rankin, A.; Orr, K.; Duffy, M.; Poinhos, R.; de Almeida, M.D.V.; Macready, A.L.; Gallagher, C.; et al. (2013)
      The aim of this research was to explore consumer perceptions of personalised nutrition and to compare these across three different levels of "medicalization": lifestyle assessment (no blood sampling); phenotypic assessment (blood sampling); genomic assessment (blood and buccal sampling). The protocol was developed from two pilot focus groups conducted in the UK. Two focus groups (one comprising only "older" individuals between 30 and 60 years old, the other of adults 18-65 yrs of age) were run in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Germany (N=16). The analysis (guided using grounded theory) suggested that personalised nutrition was perceived in terms of benefit to health and fitness and that convenience was an important driver of uptake. Negative attitudes were associated with internet delivery but not with personalised nutrition per se. Barriers to uptake were linked to broader technological issues associated with data protection, trust in regulator and service providers. Services that required a fee were expected to be of better quality and more secure. An efficacious, transparent and trustworthy regulatory framework for personalised nutrition is required to alleviate consumer concern. In addition, developing trust in service providers is important if such services to be successful.
    • Predictors of taste acuity in healthy older Europeans

      Simpson, E.E.A.; Rae, G.; Parr, H.J.; O'Connor, J.M.; Bonham, M.; Polito, A.; Meunier, N.; Andriollo-Sanchez, M.; Intorre, F.; Coudray, C.; et al. (2012)
      This study aimed to identify factors associated with taste acuity in healthy older European adults aged 55-87 years, employing a factorial independent design to recruit older adults from centres in France, Italy and United Kingdom. Adults aged 70-87 years (N=387) were recruited in Rome (Italy) (n=108) and Grenoble (France) (n=91) and aged 55-70 years in Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) (n=93) and Clermont-Ferrand (C-F) (France) (n=95). A signal detection theory (SDT) approach was used for detection threshold assessment of the four basic tastes (salt; sweet; bitter; and, sour). Trial data were converted to R-indices. Diet was assessed by means of four day food diaries. Dietary data were converted using WISP and then reduced, using a principal components analysis, to four components: Component 1 'high fat and salt'; Component 2 'high vitamins and fibre'; Component 3 'high fat and carbohydrate'; and, Component 4 'high trace elements'. Socio-demographic information was collected by self report survey. Four separate regression analyses were carried out, one for each of the four basic taste qualities (sweet; sour; bitter; salt). Mean ROC scores for each taste quality were the response variables and age, sex, country, social class and dietary components were predictor variables. The main predictors of taste acuity were age, sex, social class and country, which had differential effects for each taste quality. These data suggest that socio-demographic and cultural factors should be taken into account when considering taste acuity in older people.