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Public knowledge, awareness and perceptions of nutrigenomics
A study of Canadian perspectives

DAVID CASTLE1, MARK WEIR2, KARINE MORIN2, NOLA M. RIES3
1. Canada Research Chair in Science and Society, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Law University of Ottawa, 234, 70 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada
2. Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa, 234, 70 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada
3. Health Law Institute, Law Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton Alberta T6G 2H5, Canada

Abstract

Nutritional genomics (nutrigenomics) examines the links between nutrition and genetic-based disease. Thepublic has access to tests available through the marketplace which are gaining popularity as they become moreaffordable to purchase. In this study, we gauge Canadian public knowledge, awareness and perceptions of nutrigenomicsthrough a telephone survey. Respondents demonstrate limited knowledge and awareness, but nevertheless hadfavourable perceptions of nutrigenomics. Responses indicate that Canadians do not hold deterministic perspectives aboutgenetics, believing that their health outcomes are modifiable and not solely dependent on their genetic make-up. Whileinterest levels are currently low, Canadians find value in nutrigenomics a technology of value. As such, governments andhealth-care professionals need to take steps to prepare for its arrival.