Knowledge and attitudes of Canadian consumers and health care professionals regarding nutritional genomics

OMICS. 2009 Feb;13(1):37-41. doi: 10.1089/omi.2008.0047.


With advances in the field of nutrigenomics, commercial laboratories have begun marketing genotyping services, nutritional advice, and dietary supplements "tailored" to match individual genetic predispositions. Although primarily offered by American companies, these services are available to Canadian consumers via the Internet. Qualitative research in the form of focus groups with members of the Canadian public was undertaken to assess the current level of understanding of and receptivity toward this new genomic application. Additionally, focus groups with health care professionals (physicians, pharmacists, dieticians, nutritionists, and naturopaths) investigated their interest in integrating nutrigenomics into health care delivery, and their capacity to do so. Gauging knowledge and attitudes early in the introduction of a new technology serves to identify potential "blind spots" regarding the ethical, legal, and social implications. Preliminary results indicate consumers believe potential benefits of nutrigenomics outweigh risks, while health care professionals express more skepticism. Both groups agree that more public education about nutrigenomics is needed and that regulatory oversight should ensure consumer protection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Canada
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Nutrigenomics*