Epidemiology and nutritional epidemiology
Epidemiology is described as the science of the transmission and causes of disease in a population, and the use of this knowledge to reduce disease (Last 1988).
Nutritional epidemiology is, in a similar way, described as the study of dietary determinants of diseases (Margetts and Nelson 1991). Nutrition itself is a broad discipline which covers metabolism of food but also socioeconomic, cultural, psychological and agricultural factors which all affect individuals' diets. Nutritional status is measured largely by means of biochemical, clinical, anthropometric and dietary indicators.
The start of NEON
Many nutritional epidemiologists have experienced isolation in their research. The epidemiologist is often the only representative of his/her field in a research group that can have, for instance, a pediatric, oncologic, medical or dental focus. Moreover, in Sweden geographical distances between research groups can be large, and thus contacts between nutritional epidemiologists have been few, and natural meeting places have often been hard to find.
With this background, a group of nutritional epidemiologists met in 1997 and initiated the Network in Epidemiology and Nutrition (NEON). The operating costs of this network have since been supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE).
Present activities of NEON
Once a year, members of the network meet and hold a two-day conference. The place of the conference varies from year to year, so that most places where research in nutritional epidemiology takes place are visited. During these meetings, quantitative methodological issues are discussed and current projects presented. In addition, the network maintains a homepage and mailing lists for the purpose of spreading information among the members.
More details on NEON activities.
Travel and accommodation costs for the annual meeting are available for members working in Sweden.
More details on NEON travel possibilities.