Nutritional Relative Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a well-established tool in the area of food safety and non-nutrients. However, its application to the area of nutrient and related substances is emerging and evolving. Diet is a complex exposure medium such that risk mitigation strategy that focuses a single contaminant, nutrient or functional ingredient could have potential impacts on the overall diet without considerations for the overall health and nutritional status of the population. Nutritional relative risk assessment is an approach to systematically place a specific risk factor in context of other contributing risk factors, including health and nutritional factors, to the overall disease outcome. Outputs of nutritional relative risk ranking can be conveyed to risk prioritization scheme to elucidate mitigation strategy or to cost-benefit assessment.

How Can Exponent Help With Nutritional Relative Risk Assessment?

Literature Search and Data Compilation – Conduct of computerized literature searches aimed at identifying all relevant scientific data, both positive and negative to the identified nutritional factors and disease relationship.

Nutritional Epidemiology Data Review – Conduct large-scale critical reviews and primary data analyses of dietary and nutritional factors as they relate to a variety of health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, infant allergy, childhood and adult obesity, and behavior and lifestyle patterns.

Dietary Exposure Assessment – Conduct exposure assessment for macro/micro nutrient, including fatty acids, functional ingredient, contaminant, for all population subgroups, using data from nationwide surveys such as USDA’s Continuing Survey of food intakes by Individuals (CSFII), and CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Exponent has developed specialized methods to adjust for the complex sample designs associated with these surveys and processed data to allow for rapid assessment of intake of food as consumed or ingredient levels. Our analyses can be conducted to reflect consumption patterns by eating occasion, meal, day (24-hour), and longer periods. Exponent has the tools and know-how to help make sense of these data and routinely uses data from these in nutrition and contaminant risk assessments designed for regulatory submissions, market research, product development, and litigation support.

Nutritional Biochemistry Data Analysis – The examination component of the NHANES survey includes laboratory tests that measure several nutritional indicators. Exponent provides analyses that make use of these in conjunction with the consumption data collected by the survey to assess the effect of diets on the health and nutritional status, and to evaluate the effect of changes in nutrition and public health policies and food fortification on the health nutritional status of the U.S. population.

Linkage of the NHANES Survey Data with the Mortality Data from the Follow-up Surveys – Follow-up information on participants from several of the earlier NHANES surveys has been collected by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). For instance the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (NHEFS) is a longitudinal study that was designed to investigate the relationships between clinical, nutritional, and behavioral factors assessed in NHANES I and subsequent morbidity, mortality, and hospital utilization, as well as changes in risk factors, functional limitation, and institutionalization. Similarly NCHS has conducted a mortality linkage of the NHANES III with the National Death Index (NDI). These data bases can be used to assess potential associations between food intakes patterns and health outcomes.

Modeling Approaches – Developing and implementing deterministic and probabilistic (Monte Carlo) models for use in microbiological risk assessment, assessments of dietary intakes of chemical contaminants and nutrients. Applying risk apportionment techniques to estimate the relative contribution of diet and other risk factors to diseases and health outcomes of interest. Modeling to rank and prioritize health benefits and risks associated nutrients.

Manuscript Preparation and Publication – Prepare manuscript and submission to peered review journals.