The effect of diet on the mental performance of children (NUTRIMENTHE)
NUTRIMENTHE is a new EU funded project to study the effect of early nutrition on the mental development of children.The project was launched on 22nd April 2008 during Granada’s Scientific Week on Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition in Europe: From Conception to Adolescence.
There is evidence that early nutrition can influence later mental performance, cognitive development and behaviour. The idea that the diet of mothers, infants and children influences long-term mental performance has major implications not just for public health practice and policy development, but also for food product development, economic progress and future wealth creation, even for our understanding of human biology itself.
NUTRIMENTHE addresses these areas by bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of international scientists and leaders in key areas of nutrition and mental performance from major research centres across Europe, co-ordinated through a professional management approach with horizontal, vertical and sectorial integration. This integrated approach brings together work from robust human experimental studies backed by modern prospective observational studies and molecular techniques.
Heather Gage graduated with a BA (Hons) Economics and an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning Studies from the University of Reading. Subsequently, she gained a PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Surrey and became Professor of Health Economics in 2012. As Director of Surrey Health Economics Centre, Heather oversees a varied portfolio of applied health and social care projects. She has held visiting positions at the Boston University School of Public Health and the Centre for Health Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research of the US Veterans Healthcare Administration.
I previously worked at the Institute of Food Research, Health Education Authority and University of Oxford. My expertise is in the area of public health and behavioural nutrition research, gained on a variety of projects. My research is wide ranging both in terms of topics covered (e.g. food choice, policy development, food safety) and methodologies used (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, stakeholder consultation). I have also been involved in the evaluation of health promotion programmes and developing tools for use in nutrition education.
Since my arrival in 2000, I have played an instrumental role in the success of the University of Surrey’s Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, securing over £5.4M of research funding, of which over £3.3M as PI. With a start-up investment of £250K in 2000, the centre has brought over £7.1M into the University.
To date I have published over 125 refereed papers, numerous non-refereed publications including 20 book chapters and have edited two booksand edited two books ("The Psychology of Food Choice" (2006) and "Food for the Ag(e)ing Population" (1st edition 2009; 2nd edition 2016).
I am one of the founding members, member of the Board of Directors (2001-2006) and was secretary (2004-2006) of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The society was set up to combine interests in diet and physical activity; and to stimulate, promote and advocate innovative research and policy in the area. The society now plays an important role in fostering excellence in research in this field through its annual meetings and journal called the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Richard Shepherd is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology, having retired in August 2011. He obtained degrees in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and in Psychology from Cardiff and Southampton. He was a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey and then worked at the Institute of Food Research from 1982 to 1998, initially in Norwich and then in Reading, before joining the University of Surrey as a Reader.
He has carried out research on a range of issues related to the factors influencing food choice. In particular this has involved the development and application of social cognition models to food choice issues and the exploration of the factors influencing dietary change. He has also conducted research on the perception of risk and risk communication particularly in relation to food issues. He has published widely in all of these areas of research, including editing two books.
He has directed research funded by BBSRC, ESRC, MAFF, FSA, Wellcome Trust and industry, in addition to several collaborative European projects funded by the EU. He is a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. In the past Richard has been a member of the UK Food Standards Agency Social Science Research Committee, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Social Science Expert Advisory Group and the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel.
Research groups and centres
Our research is supported by research groups and centres of excellence.