The Early Nutrition Programming Project (EARNEST)


The EARNEST project is a large collaborative investigation into the long-term consequences of early nutrition by metabolic programming. It is funded under the Food Quality and Safety Priority of the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development of the European Community. Coordinated by Professor Koletzko of the Children’s Hospital, University of Munich, in Germany, it brings together a multi-disciplinary team of scientists from 38 institutions in 16 European countries

The project investigates early nutrition programming using an approach which integrates knowledge from randomised controlled trials, prospective observational studies and animal, cellular and molecular techniques. This enables a better understanding of the extent to which nutritional influences in early life can programme a person’s development and metabolism in adulthood. Other aspects of the project include studies to investigate consumer attitudes to early nutrition programming and the economic importance of early nutrition programming.

The University of Surrey is responsible for the part of the project that determines consumer attitudes to issues relating to early nutrition programming. This component has following goals and is carried out in five selected EU countries including England, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Spain. 

  • To collect and analyse early nutrition information and policies from different sectors.
  • To review the evidence basis of these policy documents on the link between early nutrition and future health in the offspring.
  • To establish methods of communicating infant feeding advice including early nutrition and later health.
  • To determine parental understanding of the concept of early nutrition programming. 

Project partners 

  • Dr Kirsi Laitinen, Turku University, Finland
  • Prof Berthold Koletzko and Julia von Rosen, University of Munich, Germany
  • Dr Tamás Decsi, University of Pécs. Hungary
  • Prof Christina Campoy and Dr. Elena Martin, University of Granada, Spain