MoodFood is a multidisciplinary consortium involving 13 organizations in 9 European countries, using a unique integrative approach which combines expertise in nutrition, consumer behaviour, psychiatry and preventive psychology.
Depression is one of the most prevalent and disabling disorders in the EU
Lifetime prevalence of depression varies from 10% to 25% in women, with an average prevalence of 20%. For men, the lifetime prevalence is 5% to 12% with an average of 10%. About 6% of the population meets the criteria for major depressive disorder at any time, placing a heavy burden on individuals and their families
Possible link between nutrition and psychological health
Recent studies suggest a bi-directional link between healthy nutrition and psychological health (Akbaraly et al. 2009; Sanchez‐Villegas et al. 2009; Jacka et al. 2010). It is yet unclear whether nutritional behaviour influences the development of depression in a direct manner or whether other mechanisms like social environment or obesity are also involved as (Luppino et al. 2010).
Obesity rates are increasing in Europe
Current obesity rates range between 8.0%‐23.9% for women and 7.6%‐24.7% in men ‐ among the 19 Member States (Eurostat 2011), these potential mechanisms need to be addressed (Joint Programming Initiative 2012) to assess their impact on depression rates.
EU funding for nutrition depression link
On January 1, 2014, the MoodFOOD project led by Marjolein Visser and Ingeborg Brouwer of the Department of Health Sciences from the VU University started. It has been granted nearly €9 million to investigate over 5 years how food intake, nutrient status, food‐related behaviour and obesity are linked to the development of depression. This will allow researchers to combine existing high quality data from longitudinal prospective European cohort studies with new data from surveys, short-term experiments and a long-term preventative intervention study.