Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Children and adults nutrition as a protective or health-risk factor

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.08.00  Medical sciences  Public health (occupational safety)   

Code Science Field
B420  Biomedical sciences  Nutrition 

Code Science Field
3.03  Medical and Health Sciences  Health sciences 
nutrition, dietary intakes, nutritional status, micronutrients, health, children development, gut microbiota
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (36)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33338  PhD Evgen Benedik  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  628 
2.  27975  PhD Urška Blaznik  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  200 
3.  11150  PhD Bojana Bogovič Matijašić  Animal production  Researcher  2017 - 2020  394 
4.  15659  PhD Andreja Čanžek Majhenič  Animal production  Researcher  2017 - 2020  242 
5.  05373  PhD Ivan Eržen  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  669 
6.  35405  Teja Fabjan  Medical sciences  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  43 
7.  15312  PhD Nataša Fidler Mis  Human reproduction  Researcher  2017 - 2020  421 
8.  11039  PhD Simona Gaberšček  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2017 - 2020  451 
9.  21541  PhD Petra Golja  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2017 - 2020  306 
10.  24228  PhD Matej Gregorič  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  224 
11.  18642  PhD Cirila Hlastan Ribič  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2018  245 
12.  39476  Maša Hribar  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  60 
13.  23364  PhD Petra Kolenc  Pharmacy  Researcher  2017 - 2020  137 
14.  09085  PhD Katarina Košmelj  Mathematics  Researcher  2017 - 2020  235 
15.  34577  Kristina Kumer  Human reproduction  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  57 
16.  22463  PhD Anita Kušar  Plant production  Researcher  2017 - 2020  108 
17.  36048  PhD Živa Lavriša  Public health (occupational safety)  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  48 
18.  26411  Darja Lavtar  Sociology  Researcher  2018 - 2020  209 
19.  39242  PhD Nina Mikec  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  20 
20.  36493  PhD Krista Miklavec  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2018  20 
21.  28205  Tanja Obermajer    Technical associate  2017 - 2020  52 
22.  34850  Adrijana Oblak  Human reproduction  Technical associate  2017 - 2020  38 
23.  11015  PhD Rok Orel  Human reproduction  Researcher  2017 - 2020  388 
24.  10691  PhD Joško Osredkar  Human reproduction  Researcher  2017 - 2020  1,305 
25.  05325  PhD Darja Paro  Neurobiology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  350 
26.  36376  PhD Diana Paveljšek  Animal production  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  38 
27.  24300  PhD Igor Pravst  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  313 
28.  31284  PhD Tatjana Robič Pikel  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2018 - 2020  90 
29.  08857  PhD Irena Rogelj  Animal production  Head  2017 - 2020  706 
30.  34914  PhD Aneta Soltirovska Šalamon  Human reproduction  Researcher  2017 - 2020  125 
31.  19104  PhD Blaž Stres  Animal production  Researcher  2017 - 2020  370 
32.  37426  PhD Robert Šket  Human reproduction  Junior researcher  2017 - 2018  67 
33.  35750  Vera Troha Poljančič    Technical associate  2017 - 2020 
34.  20484  PhD Katja Zaletel  Metabolic and hormonal disorders  Researcher  2017 - 2020  419 
35.  38419  Metka Zaletel  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  261 
36.  24278  PhD Katja Žmitek  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2020  167 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  76,627 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,562 
3.  3018  NUTRITION INSTITUTE  Ljubljana  3609081000  488 
4.  3333  National Institut of Public Health  Ljubljana  6462642  18,295 
Nutrition can present either a risk or a protective factor for the development of a series of non-communicable diseases. While such effects were established for during whole life cycle, the nutrition in early life is particularly important, because of its possible long-term impact on health in later life. Reliable scientific data on dietary intakes and nutritional status of the representative population sample present a predisposition for elucidate the specific role of nutritional factors in human health. The scientific background of the proposed applicative research project is based on two starting points: a) the studies that follow the link between the early nutrition, initial intestinal microbiota, and development of children over a longer time period are limited, and b) in Slovenia no epidemiological data is available about the nutritional status of adults population, particularly in relationship to those micronutrients, for which the status can be reliably established only using biomarkers in human biological samples. Therefore, a key scientific challenges addressed in this project are to investigate the effects of early life nutrition on growth and health of children, to provide epidemiological data on the nutrient intakes in adults (including intakes of key micronutrients), and to investigate their relationship with various markers of health. The work programme of this multidisciplinary applicative project will comprise two pillars: Pillar A is focused into children, and tightly linked with previous “My-Milk” project (SRA J4-3606; finished in the year 2013), in which the role of early nutrition in the development of breast fed children and their intestinal microbiota during the first year of life were investigated. A prospective study will be conducted with children included to “My-Milk” study, who will be at the time of the study aged 6-7 years. Study will characterize the key modifying factors in early life on nutritional status (dietary intakes, anthropometrics, body composition - bone density, % of fat and muscle tissue), health (blood pressure, blood cholesterol, frequency and severity of infections), and faecal microbiota of children. Pillar B is focused into adults, and tightly linked with the national dietary EU Menu study, which will conducted in 2017/2018 (funded by the European Food Safety Authority, EFSA). EU Menu project was launched by the EFSA in order to introduce standardised approach for assessment of the food intake evaluation across Europe. However, while its methodology enables the assessment of energy and macronutrient intakes, a number of key micronutrients could be only studied with examination of biological samples, such as blood and urine. The proposed project includes conduction of a cross-sectional study on adults included to EU Menu study, particularly focusing into women of childbearing age and the increasing population of elderly. In addition to standard validated dietary assessment method, biomarkers will be used to investigate the status of the key micronutrients, including vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12, iodine, and iron. Furthermore, epidemiology of some diet related diseases in Slovenia will be investigated, focusing on body composition and various other measurable markers of health, such as BMI, thyroid size, thyroid function, and thyroid disorders. We expect that the project results will significantly improve progress in research in the areas of public health and nutrition and provide epidemiological data, which will be indispensable not only for the creation of appropriate policies, but also for further research, particularly for identification of new links between nutrition, health and the development of non-communicable diseases.
Significance for science
The project results will significantly improve progress in research in the areas of public health and nutrition. Extensive research carried out in recent years strongly suggests that early nutrition modulates growth and functional development of the child and exert lifelong programming effects on health, disease, and quality of life in adulthood. However, the question whether early differences in the composition of the intestinal microbiota of children are associated with metabolic or systemic problems later in life still remains unanswered. So, the interactions within the axis nutrition in early childhood, gut microbiota composition and diversity and potential health problems in later life are still not fully explored. The conclusions of proposed studies will contribute to the scientific development in this field in global prospective. It should be noted that this study would gain many new data on dietary habits, the basic features of the intestinal microbiota, health status and the occurrence of certain diseases in Slovenian children. We believe that the results of our research will contribute to the production of more suitable nutritional interventions in order to prevent/treat certain chronic non-communicable diseases and their complications, including overweight and obesity. This information will be an excellent basis for further studies in other areas, and for developing new dietary guidelines for the population of children. The proposed applicative research project will also provide epidemiological data for Slovenian adult population, which will be indispensable not only for the creation of appropriate policies, but also for further research, particularly for identification of new links between nutrition, health and the development of non-communicable diseases. In Slovenia currently we actually have NO data about the status of micronutrients in the population. The proposed project will for example provide highly necessary information about the current iodine supply, and also about the prevalence of thyroid disorders in Slovenian population. Additionally, the project will provide results about the seasonal changes in vitamin D deficiency in our geographic region. Considering that vitamin D status of mother affects the development of new-borns, and also influence the risk for the development of osteoporosis in the latter life, we will particularly focus into women in childbearing age and the elderly population. Project will also contribute to the methodology in the area of the assessment of nutritional status. For example, particular focus will be addresses into assessment of vitamin B12 deficiency, where a number of methodological issues still exist (Hannibal et al. 2016). Previous research showed that serum vitamin B12 has limited diagnostic value as a stand-alone marker. Other biomarkers, which are connected with B12 deficiency will be therefore also investigated, including homocysteine and methylmalonic acid.
Significance for the country
Project’s relevance for society is proven by the co­financing by the Government (Ministry of Health, 25%). The results of the project will be used by the Slovenian government as a scientifically credible basis for the adoption of appropriate health care and nutrition policies, guidelines and preventive programs. New epidemiological data will enable a preparation of national guidelines for the screening of population and establishing population groups, which deserve a special attention. The objectives of the project are consistent with the Resolution on the National Programme on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health 2015-2025 (National Assembly, 15/07/2015). This resolution particularly focus into priorities of Horizon 2020 programme - Health, demographic change and food safety, and highlights the need to ensure the research and monitoring at the national level, especially the collection of data on dietary habits in different population groups. »Periodic cross-sectional surveys of qualitative and quantitative type, used to monitor the status and trends in the field of nutrition habits and dietary intake of the individual population groups" are mentioned as a specific objective. Education and training are also listed as priorities. The proposed project will contribute to better realisation of all these areas. The project’s objectives are also in line with the Slovenian strategic resolution on the development of Slovenian agriculture and the food industry until 2020 “Food for the future”, the WHO recommendations, and the European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020 (EU FNAP) which states, that dietary factors are the most important factors that undermine health and wellbeing in every Member State in the European Region. Moreover, it is pointed out that malnutrition, including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) resulting from unhealthy diets have high social and economic costs for individuals, families, communities and governments. Project will be also important for the businesses / industry: Particularly, project results will support responsible food production decisions in the food industry. Currently a number of foods on the market are enriched with various nutrients (particularly nutrients) without any evidence about the needs for these nutrients in the populations. Many times micronutrients are added to foods just to enable various attractive health claims and for advertising. With relevant data about the dietary status, the industry will have the data needed in the product development.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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