We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The JRC's Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway celebrates its 1st anniversary. Within one year of its launch, the information platform has grown beyond the initial expectations.
Launched in December 2017, the JRC's Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway provides up-to-date, independent and reliable information on nutrition and non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
The Knowledge Gateway is only up and running since one year, but it already covers the topics that were indicated as priorities by the EU Member States. On the website, users can find briefs on commonly debated topics such as fats, fibre, protein, salt, fruit & vegetables, water, whole grain and alcoholic beverages.
"The Gateway provides the needed information in one place and this reflects both our uniqueness and our added-value. For example, if you are interested in sugar, you will find all the information related to the definitions, legal issues – such as labelling and nutrient claims – and its effects on our health, the recommended and current intakes across the EU and even the disease burden related to high or low consumption", comments JRC researcher Sandra Caldeira.
The website also hosts briefs on health inequalities – that is, the unequal access of people to good health determinants – and the impact of non-communicable diseases, i.e. premature deaths and disabilities caused by these diseases, and their overall cost to society.
"Public health expenditure is among the largest and fastest growing spending items for governments. The information on the Gateway provides very important social and financial arguments for putting more emphasis on prevention of these diseases", said Sandra.
The briefs are mainly meant to target decision-makers and thus they always include summaries of policy recommendations and of policies that have already been implemented.
"Our ultimate objective is that the Knowledge Gateway becomes the reference point for policy makers, their source of data and ideas to design policies and strategies to promote public health across the EU", concludes Sandra.
Following closely the Commission's policy agenda, the research team will soon expand the content of the Knowledge Gateway to the imminent priority topic, mental health. In the beginning of 2019 the team has also committed to publishing a brief on physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
So dear readers, remember to check the recommendations before deciding on your New Year's resolutions!