There is evidence that early nutrition may affect later mental performance. The idea that the diet of mothers, infants and children could affect later mental performance has major implications for public health practice and policy development and for our understanding of human biology as well as for food product development, economic progress and future wealth creation. However, much of the evidence to date is from animal, retrospective studies and short term nutritional intervention studies in humans.
NUTRIMENTHE aims to significantly improve knowledge in this area by studying the role, mechanisms, risks and benefits of specific nutrients and food components on the mental performance of children. The age of children addressed by NUTRIMENTHE ranges from foetal stage to childhood, from large, well characterised prospective studies. The nutrients that NUTRIMENTHE is addressing include long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), minerals (iron and zinc) and B-vitamins as these have previously been indicated as important in mental performance.