In the western world we choose what we eat. That’s a luxury as well as a risk because not all foods are good for us. An unhealthy diet can lead to problems, especially later in life, like chronic illnesses such as diabetes type 2 and heart and vascular problems. At TNO we investigate how we can stimulate healthy habits that result in a longer healthy life and reduce the burden of care on society.

People tend to take care about what they eat only when something is wrong but the earlier you start a healthy diet, the greater the effect.

A child’s first thousand days

A healthy diet begins before the birth of the child, even before conception. The health of the parents that conceive a child at that moment affects the health of the child as does the baby’s period in the womb. During its first years of life, a child needs not only good nutrition to grow but also learns dietary habits. In short, the first thousand days of a child’s life are key to its health later in life.

Intrinsic motivation

It’s not only about knowing what healthy food is but also about getting people to make healthy choices. Only if people are intrinsically motivated will they persevere in choosing healthy food for themselves and their children. TNO combines knowledge of nutrition and health with knowledge about youth and behavioural influence.

Business models that enhance a healthy lifestyle

Ideally, encouraging people to eat healthy food should be task not only for government but also of business and industry. So we are working with companies to develop business models that help maintain healthy behaviour, for example investigating how health can be measured and how to influence healthy behaviour, and what the value chains and income models are on the basis of new technologies. An example is the new opportunities afforded by wearable technology that will enable people to have more data about their health in the future.


TNO is the external research laboratory for companies and institutions. Our considerable added value is contained in the knowledge of all kinds of domains that we have and combine along with the immediate applicability of our research.

If you would like to have research undertaken into products and services that will help people lead healthy lives?

Get in touch with us



Drs. Roelinde Bakker

  • Child health
  • First 1000 days
  • Mother and child care
  • Africa
  • Asia