Food for thought: The science and politics of nutrition

14 - 15 Jun 2018

Location: Rüschlikon/Zurich, Switzerland

About the event

Nutrition, which is often neglected, is one of the biggest drivers of the global epidemic of chronic lifestyle diseases, including obesity and diabetes. However, the evidence base for dietary advice is beset with poor quality science and unresolved controversy.

To improve the science of nutritional advice, the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) and the Swiss Re Institute will jointly publish a series of articles under the banner of “Food for thought: The science and politics of nutrition.”

Swiss Re believes that improved nutritional advice will lead to better health outcomes and greater societal resilience against lifestyle diseases.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to join nutritional researchers and interact with leading experts in the fields of medicine, research and public policy backgrounds. Together, we can reclaim the nutritional debate for science and evidence-based research.

Please note that participation is by invitation only.


Agenda Day 1

Thursday, 14 June 2018


Optional lunch


Welcome and introduction
Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief, The BMJ


Welcome and opening remarks
Jeffrey Bohn, Director, Swiss Re Institute


A history of nutrition science: Implications for current research, dietary guidelines and food policy
Dariush Mozaffarian, Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition and Medicine, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Theme 1    

Major controversies 1


Nita Gandhi Forouhi, Professor of Population Health and Nutrition, Programme Leader & Consultant Public Health Physician MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine


Carbs and sugars
Luc Tappy, Professor, Department of Physiology, University of Lausanne


Dietary patterns and whole foods
Matthias Schulze, Professor and Head of the Department of Molecular Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition


Moderated discussion and Q&A on major controversies 1


Coffee break

Theme 2

Major controversies 2


Obesity and weight management
Michael Lean, Chair of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, and Consultant Physician Adjunct Professor of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, New Zealand


Type 2 diabetes management
Roy Taylor, Professor of Medicine and Metabolism, Director of the Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre, Newcastle University


Moderated discussion and Q&A on major controversies 2


Panel discussion on "What evidence can we trust?“
Moderator: John Schoonbee, Global Chief Medical Officer, Swiss Re

Zoë Harcombe, Author and Researcher
Gary Taubes, Science and Health Journalist, Co-Founder and President of the Non-Profit Nutrition Science Initiative
Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


End of day 1


Apero and dinner

Agenda Day 2

Friday, 15 June 2018


Coffee and networking


Welcome and introduction to day 2
Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief, The BMJ

Theme 3 

Individual health


Gut microbiome
Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Director of the TwinsUK Registry, Kings College London


Personalised nutrition
José M. Ordovás, Professor of Nutrition and Genetics, Director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the USDA-Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University


Moderated discussion and Q&A on individual health

Theme 4

Implications for global health and health policy


Coffee break


Nutrition disparities
Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Professor of Public Health; Director, Office of Public Health Practice; Director Global Health Concentration, Yale School of Public Health


Hunger and food security


Barriers and opportunities for healthier eating: The role of policy and government in nutrition


The role of industry
Martin White, Professor and Director of Research, Food Systems and Public Health, Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge


Economic benefits of changing global diets
John Schoonbee, Global Chief Medical Officer, Swiss Re
Emile Elefteriadis, Head of L&H Products, Canada & English Caribbean, Swiss Re




Panel discussion on “Food politics and policy”


Future research and policy agenda


Closing remarks


End of day 2



General information


Food for thought: The science and politics of nutrition


14-15 June 2018


Centre for Global Dialogue
Gheistrasse 37
8803 Rüschlikon
Telephone +41 43 285 8100

Conference language


Conference fee

There is no fee for this event.

Target audience

The event targets professionals involved in nutritional research from medical, research and public policy backgrounds.


Participation is by invitation only. Please refer to the separate registration tab.

Dress code

Business casual

Hotel Accommodation

Please refer to the separate accommodation tab.

Transportation to and from the Centre

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements. Airport transfers will be the responsibility of the participants. Click here for travel directions to the Centre.

Transportation will be provided for people staying at the Hotel Sedartis on both days:

Day 1
09:30 pm Departure Centre for Global Dialogue to Hotel Sedartis (after dinner)

Day 2
07:50 am Departure Hotel Sedartis to Centre for Global Dialogue

Meals and refreshments

A welcome lunch as well as a buffet dinner will be served on Thursday, 14 June 2018.

Lunch, as well as coffee and refreshments will be served on Friday, 15 June 2018.

If you have a special meal or dietary requirement, please note it on the registration form.


For cancellation, please contact or +41 43 285 8846.


This event may be photographed, videotaped, filmed and/or recorded. A summary of the event, pictures and/or a video of the event in which you may appear may be posted and made available on Swiss Re's and the Swiss Re Institute's internal and external websites and in printed materials.

Privacy statement

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that Swiss Re conducts its business according to applicable Competition and Antitrust Laws. Please bear this in mind while attending the conference. For more details, please contact the organiser.

Registration / Accommodation


Participation is by invitation only.The event targets professionals involved in nutritional research from medical, research and public policy backgrounds. For questions about the invitation process and the event programme, please contact

Hotel accommodation at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue

A limited number of rooms are available at the Centre for Global Dialogue. The rate per night including breakfast is CHF 300.

In order to reserve a hotel room, we kindly ask you to send us an email to indicating your arrival and departure date.

Hotel accommodation at the Hotel Sedartis
Swiss Re has also reserved a number of rooms at the Hotel Sedartis. Please book your hotel accommodation directly through the hotel mentioning the event code "Food for thought". Transportation from the Hotel Sedartis to the Conference Venue will be provided on both days (see tab "General Information").

The special rate is CHF 180 per night /room excluding breakfast and taxes.

Hotel Sedartis
Bahnhofstrasse 15/16
CH-8800 Thalwil
Phone: +41 43 388 33 00
Fax: +41 41 388 33 01