Australia tackles ageing with health foods

Related tags Nutrition

Researchers in Australia will develop new foods and diets as part
of a new preventative healthcare initiative, designed to add an
extra 10 years of healthy life to members of Australia's ageing

A new research programme, to improve the preventative healthcare offered to Australians, will see developments in new health foods and dietary plans.

New ways to detect and prevent bowel cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases will be investigated by CSIRO's Preventative Health National Research Flagship (P-Health), launched yesterday by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Trish Worth.

"The goal is to extend that part of Australians' lives that are active and healthy by tackling the major conditions which afflict us as we age,"​ said P-Health director, Professor Richard Head.

Australia will have 4 million over-65s by 2020.The programme will develop new foods and diets which combat disease and promote well-being and also use genes and proteins to predict and prevent ill-health.

The researchers are also to investigate new ways to identify disease before it becomes serious and develop easy ways to help people better manage their health.

"Recent advances in understanding the origins and course of diseases and environmental public health have created potential for reducing the incidence and severity of chronic diseases,"​ Professor Head said.

"We will promote the objectives of 'wellness' and disease prevention and develop a range of measures - from foods and diets to early-stage diagnosis and improved management of disease - to assist healthcare professionals and individuals to reduce the incidence and severity of ill-health,"​ he added.

The researcher highlighted the need for sharing knowledge across specialist areas.

"It is the creative convergence of sciences like physiology, biology, nutrition, food science, maths, information technology and social sciences to assist in prevention,"​ said Professor Head.

The P-Health Flagship will bring together genomics and proteomics, nanotechnology and biotechnology, information technology, data mining, biodiscovery of new treatments, psychology and nutritional science.

Other institutes, including Neurosciences Australia, the National Ageing Research Institute, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and the universities of Melbourne, Adelaide, Flinders and South Australia, will be involved in the programme.

The Australian government recently announced​ funding worth A$5.5 million (€3.17m) for the commercial development of functional foods at one of two new centres for food excellence.

Related topics Research Suppliers Healthy ageing

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