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Supermarché.. © INRA, MAITRE Christophe

Objectives of the DID'IT metaprogramme

Updated on 10/14/2014
Published on 01/21/2013

Diet is important for overall personal well-being, it can be either beneficial or detrimental to health, and the question of diet is crucial in formulating different policies targeting public health. For several decades, research has been very active on the subject of dietary behaviours and how they affect people’s health. A collective scientific expertise was completed in 2010 by INRA at the request of the French Ministry in charge of Agriculture. This expertise presents a thorough review of the knowledge available regarding the determinants of dietary behaviour and outlines research needs.
INRA has decided to launch a metaprogramme to address a number of issues raised by the expertise. The research programme will encourage interdisciplinary approaches.

Food, food security and nutritional health are major public policy issues which have given rise to a number of national and international research and public health initiatives. Despite these initiatives, eating habits are all too often out of step with recommendations, and analysis shows that there is much room for improvement when it comes to turning recommendations into healthy habits.
Changing trends in world population, limited resources (agricultural raw materials, fossil fuels, soils, water, etc.) and climate change linked to human activity are threatening global food security. Foresight studies show that environmental impact, especially post-harvest, is a major issue of food security and that dietary trends and food habits are key to meeting the challenge of sustainability.
To rise to these challenges, the DID’IT metaprogramme seeks to create a multidisciplinary scientific community within INRA, and to forge partnerships in order to better inform public policy makers and economic players on how food habits are formed, how to influence them, their impact on health and well-being, and their environmental footprint.

Research priorities

Four research priorities have been identified:


Research will focus on:

  • furthering knowledge of dietary practices in a context of abundant food supply, excessive intake of calories and animal-based products, and quality inequality within populations;
  • understanding the role of dietary practices in over-consumption, the rise of obesity, and nutritional deficiencies, and impact on sustainability;
  • finding ways to change dietary practices for the better, in terms of health and sustainability;
  • gaining a better understanding of the determinants of food supply and the forces behind them that can be tapped into;
  • putting the right tools in place to orient public and private policies toward improving health and well-being among populations, and preserving the environment.

More about the metaprogramme