IMU’s Nutrition and Dietetics (N&D) research is driven by the passion to identify nutrition-related health problems and innovatively solve them. Centered around the areas of food, nutrition and dietetics, the overarching aim of IMU N&D research is to improve health and well-being for all. The diverse strengths of the researchers is displayed in their varied approach they adopt to address nutrition questions: from designing laboratory studies, to conducting randomised clinical nutrition trials, to reviewing evidence and food policies. The N&D team strongly believes in doing research that matters and reaches the community. Therefore, the team actively disseminates their research findings through publications, reports and conference presentations. Asian Congress of Nutrition (ACN), an important nutrition conference hosted by an Asian Nutrition Society once every 4 years, provides a coveted platform for Asian researchers to share their findings and learn through sharing and networking. IMU’s N&D team showed a strong presence with 10 faculty members attending the recent ACN 2019, held in Bali, Indonesia from 4-7 August, 2019. This year’s conference was organised by the Food and Nutrition Society of Indonesia and the Federation of Asian Nutrition Societies (FANS). Some of the research showcased by the IMU N&D team included those in the area of adolescent bone health, food environment, influencers of adolescent dietary intake, probiotics and nutraceuticals in sports nutrition, diet quality among cancer patients and a review of the sugar tax policies in the South-East Asian countries. Dr Harvinder Kaur, who presented her teams’ findings on food environment on her return from the conference says, “The conference break-out sessions were very informative with experts from various country presenting their latest evidence and sharing their knowledge.” Kelly Num pinpoints that the conference updated the attendees on the “latest nutrition initiatives in the ASEAN region”.
Dr Tan Seok Shin, who is the Programme Director of the Nutrition programme and a co-attendee of the conference agrees and adds that “these learning points are extremely important to keep the curriculum updated”.
Dr Yang Wai Yew says her favourite take home point from the conference was that ‘Product reformulation should be the food industry’s main agenda to address consumer needs and promote healthful eating”. Drs Sangeetha Shyam and Megan Chong join in to say, “The conference also gave us the time to catch up with our academic and industrial collaborators, discuss and generate new ideas and initiate new collaborative ventures”. At a satellite activity of the conference, a round table for positive logo countries was organised by the Choices International Foundation. A/Prof Snigdha Misra, as East Asia Advisor proposed for a framework to harmonise the criteria for Front-of-pack labelling in this region while A/Prof Rokiah Don, International Scientific Committee member for Choices International contributed to the development of the criteria. Kanimolli Arasu, a faculty member of the Division, who is pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Prof Winnie Chee, amazed the audience by delivering a 5-minute presentation that was originally intended for 7 minutes with exemplary composure. When reminded of the experience she can’t stop smiling! The team is now recharged and energised and cant wait to delve into doing work that matters!