Food and Behaviour Research

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The Early Nutrition Programming Project (EARNEST): 5 y of successful multidisciplinary collaborative research

Koletzko B, Brands B, Demmelmair H; Early Nutrition Programming Project. (2011) Am J Clin Nutr 94(6 Suppl) 1749S-1753S. Epub 2011 Oct 5. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here


Differences in nutritional experiences during sensitive periods in early life, both before and after birth, can program a person's future development, metabolism, and health.

A better scientific understanding of early nutrition programming holds enormous potential for implementing preventive strategies to enhance individuals' long-term health, well-being, and performance. This understanding could reduce costs of health care and social services and may enhance the wealth of societies.

The Early Nutrition Programming Project (EARNEST) brought together a multidisciplinary team of international scientists and leaders in key areas of the early nutrition programming field from 40 major research centers across 16 European countries. The project had a total budget of 16.5 million Euros and was funded by the European Communities under the Sixth Framework Program for Research and Technical Development and coordinated by the Children's Hospital at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich.

The integrated program of work combined experimental studies in humans, prospective observational studies, and mechanistic animal work, including physiologic studies, cell culture models, and molecular biology techniques. The project lasted from April 2005 to October 2010.

After the end of the project, the Early Nutrition Academy ( continues to serve as a platform for the exchange of information, scientific collaboration, and training activities in the area of programming. This article highlights some of the scientific results, achievements, and efforts of EARNEST.


Further information on this research programme and its findings can be found on the website of the EARNEST programme here.