The NNSC was originally established in 1992 in the National University of Ireland, Galway with grant support from the Department of Health and Children. The Centre moved to University College Dublin in 2003 where it is affiliated with the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.
There is an advisory board to oversee the running of the Centre with external membership from the Health Promotion Unit of the Department of Health. The Centre is required by the Department of Health to provide an independent source of information and advice and has the responsibility for collection and collation of available data relating to nutrition and health.
Food and/or nutrition surveillance is based on the use of routinely collected or easily generated data from several sectors related to nutrition and health. These include:
- Food supply/production/retail
- Food consumption data
- Nutritional knowledge, attitudes and beliefs
- Information on effective nutrition programmes
- Socio-economic indicators related to health
- Nutrition related health status indicators
- Food economics
Aims of the NNSC
- To provide accurate, reliable and timely information in an accessible form at short notice
- To monitor trends in health status correlated with all aspects of the food chain and advise on these findings for health planners
- To provide a source of information and research expertise, particularly in nutritional epidemiology and surveillance methodology to those wishing to mount specific projects such as micro-surveys.
The work of the NNSC involves
The continual updating of information on food production, supply, retail, consumption, health and socio-cultural impact. Response to information requests on nutrition-related topics from the media, health services, statutory and voluntary bodies. Information dissemination – periodic reports are published.
These reports have been widely disseminated among Health Board personnel, food agencies, producers, retailers, caterers, academics, teachers and the media. Instigation of Food and Nutrition studies. Advisory Role to the Department of Health and Children in relation to their health education and promotion campaigns.