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Health and well-being

Some people out hiking.

We are facing a number of challenges that all have an impact on our health and well-being. In addition to poverty and communicable diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are on the rise. Diseases linked to lifestyle factors, such as alcohol, tobacco and lack of exercise, have seen a sharp increase, as has mental health problems. Other challenges include antibiotic resistance and new pathogens with the ability to spread rapidly across the globe. Pollution, climate change and toxicant exposure also have a significant adverse effect on our health. Moreover, there is health inequality – not only between poor and rich countries, but also between different groups within countries and communities.

There are many dimensions to a sustainable living and many of these are accommodated within the university’s interdisciplinary focus area Food and Health. This initiative brings together researchers from areas such as medicine, culinary arts and meal science, sport and nursing sciences, biomedicine, media and communication studies, computer science, psychology, economics, sociology, political science, toxicology, biology, engineering and bioinformatics. The focus is set on prevention – by introducing healthy eating habits from the start, we can buffer against problems that we later in life attempt to curb with medication.

At the same time, a foundation for more exact diagnosis is emerging with the goal of tailored treatments on an individual basis and the possibility to make more accurate prognoses.

In many of our most common diseases, there is an underlying inflammation. The strategic profile X-HiDE – Exploring Inflammation in Health and Disease uses mathematical modelling to characterise different inflammatory conditions in regard to similarities and unique features. The long-term goal is to understand the inflammatory process and its effects in the individual patient – at different life-stages and in what way an altered lifestyle can change the course of inflammation before it becomes a disease. This is the basis for precision medicine and precision health.

Research performed within the theme Health and well-being looks at prevention but also at creating better tools for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment: