Programming research: Where are we and where do we go from here?

Berthold Koletzko, Michael E. Symonds, Sjurdur F. Olsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Convincing evidence has accumulated to show that both pre- and postnatal nutrition preprogram long-term health, well-being, and performance until adulthood and old age. There is a very large potential in the application of this knowledge to promote public health. One of the prerequisites for translational application is to strengthen the scientific evidence. More extensive knowledge is needed (eg, on effect sizes of early life programming in contemporary populations, on specific nutritional exposures, on sensitive time periods in early life, on precise underlying mechanisms, and on potential effect differences in subgroups characterized by, eg, genetic predisposition or sex). Future programming research should aim at filling the existing gaps in scientific knowledge, consider the entire lifespan, address socioeconomic issues, and foster innovation. Research should aim at results suitable for translational application (eg, by leading to health-promoting policies and evidence-based dietary recommendations in the perinatal period). International collaboration and a close research partnership of academia, industry, and small and medium enterprises may strengthen research and innovative potential enhancing the likelihood of translational application. The scientific knowhow and methodology available today allow us to take major steps forward in the near future; hence, research on nutritional programming deserves high priority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2036S-2043S
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • pregnancy
  • diet
  • exposure
  • adult
  • genetic predisposition to disease
  • health promotion
  • international cooperation
  • personal satisfaction
  • socioeconomic factors
  • time factors
  • adipose tissue
  • science of nutrition
  • public health medicine
  • older adult
  • perinatal period
  • evidence-based practice
  • life span
  • partnerships
  • Academia


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