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BNF 45th anniversary - history of the science programme

The Foundation was set up in 1967 and so celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2012. Many of the scientific outputs of the Foundation have been part of its programme from the beginning, while others have taken place more recently. Below is a brief history of the scientific work of the Foundation.


1967 - British Nutrition Foundation set up by Professor Alastair Frazer, who became the first Director General. The Foundation was established as an independent organisation to stimulate research and education in the field of nutrition.

1968 - The first BNF ‘Information Bulletin’, now known as Nutrition Bulletin, was published. 

1973 - The first BNF conference Nutritional problems in a changing world was held at Churchill College.

1974 - The first BNF newsletter sent out 

1980 - The first Briefing Paper Snacks and Meals – Trends and Effects was produced. Over 50 Briefing Papers have since been published, providing detailed reviews of important areas of nutrition science.

1981/82 - The first Task Force, on Clinical Nutrition was set up 

1994 - The Denis Burkitt award was introduced for medical and nutrition science students in the UK and Ireland to undertake a project in developing countries. 

1997 - Launch of the BNF website www.nutrition.org.uk at the 30th Anniversary conference and the start of the Foundation’s ‘duty nutrition service’ for journalists.

1998 - Prof Judith Buttriss joined the BNF as Science Director.

2001 - The science team was awarded its first EC-funded project, FLAIR-FLOW 4  on the dissemination of nutrition and health research to European stakeholders. Catering for Health was launched -  a practical training guide for teaching healthier catering produced on behalf of the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health. Also in 2001, BNF was contracted to evaluate projects from the ‘Antioxidants in food’ programme by the FSA.

2004 - The Foundation contracted by the Food Standards Agency to conduct a critical review of the psychological basis of food choice

2005 - Task Force Report on Cardiovascular Disease: Diet, Nutrition and Emerging Risk Factors, chaired by Prof Keith Frayn, was published.

2007 - BNF’s 40th Anniversary year, then Director General Professor Robert Pickard retired after 10 years at the Foundation and was succeeded by Professor Judith Buttriss. Special supplement of Nutrition Bulletin on the effects of nutrients on mood and behaviour was launched with a conference and the Briefing Papers Food availability and our changing diet and Physical activity and health were published. The Foundation held a conference entitled Food and Fitness for Life which brought together scientists and those in education to discuss the importance of physical activity for health. 

2008 – BNF nutrition scientists take part in health fairs for London Underground. BNF publishes a systematic review on peanut allergy to inform government advice and conducts a review on antioxidants in the diet for the FSA.

2009 The Foundation’s Task Force Report on healthy ageing was published and a conference to launch it held in January 2009 accompanied by a consumer media campaign including the front page of the Daily Express.  Briefing Papers on culinary oils and their health effects and on satiety were published and a conference held on satiety. In October, a BNF review on probiotics and health, published in Nutrition Bulletin was launched with a conference to disseminate the findings. The new-look BNF website was launched this year and the first Nutrition Bulletin virtual issue was published on dietary fibre and health.

2010 - A BNF review on hydration and health, as well as the healthy hydration guide for consumers, was published. This was followed by a BNF conference on hydration and health in November. 

2011 - A BNF review on meat in the diet published in Nutrition Bulletin and a joint virtual issue with Maternal and Child Nutrition on nutrition during pregnancy. A new section of the BNF website and twitter account were launched Nutrition for Baby, with advice on nutrition and health before, during and after pregnancy. BNF held a conference Physical activity: the latest on its contribution to energy balance and health. Also this year, BNF joined the Information Standard certification scheme for health and social care information. 

2012 - For the Foundation’s 45th anniversary we held a conference on behaviour change, attended by our patron HRH the Princess Royal. A special issue of Nutrition Bulletin will be published in March 2013 with a selection of papers on this topic. BNF takes on administration of the Drummond fund, creating a number of internships and awards.

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