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Foreword by the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt

Dear Reader,

Nutrition and health are inherently linked. Nowadays we are living longer and want to do so, of course, in the best health possible. But unfortunately, with age, the risk of chronic diseases also increases. This presents considerable challenges to the healthcare system as well as to individuals.

We have to face up to these challenges together as a society. Chronic diseases are largely linked to lifestyle and diet. We require new research approaches to better understand how different factors affect the development of chronic diseases, which in turn will allow suitable preventive approaches to be developed for the population. Interdisciplinary research into nutrition is particularly suited for providing us with answers in this area.

It therefore gives me great pleasure to welcome to Germany for the first time the 12th European Nutrition Conference entitled: "Nutrition and Health throughout Life Cycle – Science for the European Consumer". Interdisciplinary cooperation is vital in research. This is reflected in the wide range of presentations and symposia at this conference.

Increasingly we are turning our attention to the food production process in its entirety, as can be seen in such buzzphrases as "from farm to fork". Food safety and transparent production processes are keys here. Research and politics have to work together to achieve this.

In this regard the research institutions of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture are also making important contributions. In Germany, the Third National Consumption Study is currently being prepared.

Research thrives on interaction, and on shared ideas and projects that must not stop at national boundaries. This is why the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has from the very beginning participated with the Federal Ministry of Research in the Joint Programming Initiative on "A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life", which now comprises 25 states. This initiative has set itself the task of enhancing nutrition research, and Europe as a centre of research, by establishing a common research agenda. Seven joint projects have already been launched with the aim of intensifying cooperation in the long term.

New research findings are one thing, implementing them in everyday life is quite another. Expectations and reality can often be worlds apart. Here we need to bridge the gap between research findings and concrete dietary recommendations. This is what characterises this conference led by the European Nutrition Societies Ladies and Gentlemen, do use this opportunity for stimulating conversation, fruitful discussions and a whole host of new findings for your important work.

Your

Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture

Christian Schmidt