ABOUT US

Preventing obesity through biologically and behaviorally tailored interventions for you

BETTER4U is a 4-year Horizon Europe funded project (2023-2027) that aims to develop comprehensive research and innovative interventions to address and reverse the widespread increase in obesity and weight gain.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is the accumulation of excess fat in the tissue and is considered a chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) in and of itself. But obesity can also increase an individual’s risk of developing other chronic NCDs, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and renal diseases, together with certain types of cancer.

The widespread prevalence of overweight and obesity among the global population has escalated in the recent decades into a silent epidemic, claiming over 4 million lives annually—1.2 million in Europe alone, according to numbers of the World Health Organization (WHO).

How can we address global obesity?

To understand overweight, all determinants should be considered, encompassing not only established factors like physical activity, eating patterns, and sleep routines—proven catalysts for weight gain—but also addressing often overlooked aspects like social and economic conditions. For the BETTER4U project, it is necessary to evaluate from a multifactorial perspective the conditions that trigger weight gain in most of the population and specific marginalized groups.

To tackle such an epidemic, BETTER4U will contribute to the development of tailor-made and evidence-based weight loss interventions. This initiative aims to facilitate users in achieving a healthier and longer life expectancy.

Jose Sanchez
Jose SanchezProduct Lead
Read More
In the battle against obesity, knowledge is our compass, and perseverance is our strength.
Jose Sanchez
Jose SanchezProduct Lead
Read More
In the battle against obesity, knowledge is our compass, and perseverance is our strength.
Jose Sanchez
Jose SanchezProduct Lead
Read More
In the battle against obesity, knowledge is our compass, and perseverance is our strength.
Jose Sanchez
Jose SanchezProduct Lead
Read More
In the battle against obesity, knowledge is our compass, and perseverance is our strength.

Objectives

Addressing obesity: A tailor-made & evidence-based approach

The main objectives of BETTER4U are to:

1

Conduct in-depth analyses of potentially linked parameters for the development of obesity that have been historically unnoticed, such as genetics, microbiome, socio-economic factors, geography, culture, and lifestyle to explain the complexities of weight gain throughout life.

2

Formulate a preventive weight gain intervention methodology powered by an AI technology that receives its knowledge from a pilot study comprising 7 European countries. The efficacy of the BETTER4U methodology will be assessed through a clinical trial, incorporating technology-assisted real-time monitoring.

3

Identify any implementation barriers, facilitators, and outcomes, that may culminate in the development and dissemination of obesity prevention guidelines using a people-centered care approach.

Partners

The experts behind the project

the project’s consortium comprises 28 partner organisations which represent different perspectives from public and private sector health professionals, leading universities, research institutes and social entities like NGOs and regional governments that are willing to tackle the pervasiveness of overweight and obesity in our societies.

Harokopio University of Athens, Greece, excels in health-related research, holding a national leading position and global rankings. The Department of Nutrition and Dietetics is a leader in applied science in its field, focusing on improving health through research, teaching, and international collaborations. HUA’s Department of Informatics and Telematics advances Computer Science, mainly in web applications, big data and machine learning.

To learn more, visit the website for HUA’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at https://www.ddns.hua.gr/en/home/ .

CEIDSS is a non-profit Research Organization working in health promotion focused on the social determinants of health.  Its mission is to produce innovative intervention research to improve the health status of the population, with an emphasis education on health determinants and risk factors linked with non-communicable diseases. 
CEIDSS works in association with local and national authorities. While participating in European projects, CEIDSS has a strong experience in developing national and international comprehensive programs on tackling malnutrition, aligned with health strategies and priorities.

CRNH-RA strives to improve human nutrition and health, housing clinical investigation and mass spectrometry platforms. It develops research programs in nutrition within the framework of national, European and international research programs, working closely with industrial partners and researchers worldwide. Collaborating with experts and industries, notably the Lyfe Institute Research Centre for projects like Better4U, we strive for tasty, healthy, sustainable meals, transmitting original scientific knowledge.

COPSAC is a clinical research unit for pediatric asthma research aiming to develop evidence-based prevention strategies. COPSAC comprises a multidisciplinary medical specialties cluster and participates in national and international research collaborations. 
Amongst its research lines, the study of Endo phenotyping, gene scanning, is based on daily diary cards and comprehensive longitudinal objective assessments exploring systems biology and gene-environment interactions in the origin of atopic diseases. 

EUFIC, the European Food Information Council, is a non-profit organisation that offers accessible, appealing and actionable science-based information on food and health – to inspire and empower both the general public and health professionals.

EUFIC has extensive expertise in translating and tailoring scientific results into digestible materials. Versatile audio-visual materials are produced to satisfy the needs of different audiences, from simple infographics explaining basic food and health concepts, to thorough reviews of scientific literature.

EUFIC’s communication tools and networks ensure broad and effective dissemination.

The International Hellenic University (IHU) is based in Thessaloniki, Greece, and it recently merged with 3 major technological academic institutions in Greece. The Dpt. of Nutritional Sciences & Dietetics of IHU (NUTR.IHU) was the first tertiary education department of its kind in Greece and has many years of experience in educational and research activities in the areas of Human Nutrition, Dietetics, Adult and Childhood Obesity, and Nutrition Informatics, with multiple active research laboratories.

Karolinska Institutet (KI) was established in 1810 and is globally recognized as a frontrunner of medical universities and the leading medical university in Sweden. KI is dedicated to biomedical sciences, annually giving the Nobel Prize in Medicine. KI hosts around 600 research groups spanning all medical domains. Among them, the IMPACT research group focuses on preventing childhood and pregnancy-related overweight and obesity. Additionally, the IMPACT group offers programs in Nutrition in affiliation with the Centre for Nutrition at KI. 

The Department of Epidemiology has a tradition of excellent teaching and innovative, interest-driven research in the epidemiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases, as well as in epidemiologic methodology. To improve the public’s health the Department is training epidemiologists advancing knowledge concerning the causes and prevention of disease and the promotion of health.

The University of Cyprus (UCY) leads in research, hosting a Center of Excellence in Biobanking since 2011. Upgraded through EU funding in 2019, it oversees biobank.cy, a clinical site for BETTER4U trials. UCY excels with €30.9 million in 2022 research funding, participating in 370 projects, ranking 1st in Cyprus under Horizon Europe and 137th in Horizon 2020. UCY’s achievements include 3 Teaming in Excellence projects, 28 MSCA projects, and 69 Erasmus+ projects, positioning it as a prominent contributor to European research and education.

The University of Helsinki is in Helsinki, Finland. It is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in the country. The university is an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100. Through the power of science, the University has contributed to society, education and welfare since 1640.

The University of Navarra is a Spanish non-profit Christian-inspired university. It is among the best Spanish universities according to several rankings. 

Its values are summarized by the words learning, living and serving. Since its origins it has always been committed to research, both in scientific and humanistic areas with the pursuit of being committed to the truth wherever it is and wherever it comes from.

Ghent University is an open, pluralistic, and socially engaged university. It is more than 200 years old, offers more than 200 programs (including 64 English-taught master’s programs) and conducts in-depth research within a wide range of scientific domains. 

Our credo is Dare to Think: we are a haven for courageous thinkers.

SWPS is a private university established in 1996, with a strong community of over 300 permanent faculty of researchers and experienced academics, who teach over 14,500 students enrolled in 35 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs, across five campuses located in major cities in Poland. Our broad education offer includes 16 programs taught entirely in English to over 1,100 international students from more than 80 countries.

See https://english.swps.pl/

The University of Tartu founded in 1632, is Estonia’s oldest and largest university. Serving as Estonia’s research and training hub, UTARTU excels in diverse fields, managing work-intensive projects and ranking among the top 1.2% globally. The Institute of Genomics, a merger of the Estonian Genome Centre and Estonian Biocentre, explores the impact of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors on health. Hosting the Estonian Biobank, it comprises 200,000 individuals with comprehensive health and genomic data, fostering groundbreaking research.

Helmholtz Munich is a research institution focusing on metabolic and environmental health, bioengineering, and computational health. 

At the Institute of Epidemiology our mission is to understand the protective and harmful effects of the environment, genes and lifestyle on human health and disease using population-based epidemiology approaches. Knowledge of these interactions leads to prevention and intervention approaches for cardiometabolic diseases and allergies.

Since its foundation, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has stood for scientific and value-driven education, research and knowledge transfer. We are free thinkers with expertise and A Broader Mind. And we work together to build a better world for people and the planet.

EASO is the leading voice of obesity science, medicine, and community in Europe, representing scientists, health care professionals, physicians, public health experts and patients. Established in 1986, EASO is a federation of professional membership associations from 36 European countries.

Established in 2017 at the University of Vienna’s Law School, the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law specializes in addressing legal issues in the modern media and information society arising from rapid technological innovations. With a focus on information technology, intellectual property law, privacy/data protection, copyright, e-commerce, consumer protection law, Legal Tech, and innovations in the legal field, the department actively engages in multidisciplinary third-party funded projects, particularly in health care and law enforcement.

The Weizmann Institute is devoted to wide-ranging multidisciplinary exploration of the natural, exact, and life sciences. There are 2,500 scientists, students, and supporting staff at the institute. Weizmann is widely recognized as an international leader in systems and computational biology, due to several of its scientists in the field.

WINGS provides complete digital solutions to transform vertical business sectors such as; Environment, Utilities and Infrastructures, Production & Manufacturing, Service Sectors as well as Healths. While in this last one WINGS has developed STARLIT, a modular product suite for digital health and wellness based on Artificial Intelligence. STARLIT incorporates diverse devices, for the monitoring and collection of vital signs, as well as other measurements and features e.g. location, emergency calls, altitude, acceleration, activity, etc. WINGS will exploit its work in BETTER4U to enhance STARLIT with mechanisms for monitoring and biological and life-style determinants of weight gain.

The University of Cagliari was founded in 1620.

25.000 students, 6 faculties, 15 departments, 1 university hospital, and about 100 programmes

~1000 professors and ~1000 administrative personnel.

Department of Surgical Science – Metabolomics research group has more than years experience in the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites, 80 international collaborations and several EU funded projects sucessfully closed in the past years.

Bioclinica laboratories are a group of private medical laboratories (15 laboratories and 151 collection sites). The first laboratory was founded in 1992, in Timisoara. In over 30 years, BIOCLINICA consolidated its activity by establishing new laboratories. We have direct representation in 32 countries throughout Romania. All Bioclinica group laboratories are accredited in accordance with SR EN ISO 15189.

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) is the Greek largest university, founded in 1925 and comprising of 12 faculties and 42 schools. The university has an enrollment of 81,500 students, covering multidisciplinary scientific fields. The teaching and research staff numbers more than 2,700 people. The main university campus is close to the center of Thessaloniki and covers over 23 hectares. AUTH will be represented by the Multimedia Understanding Group with a long record of collaboration in EU projects.

Tampere University Hospital as part of the Wellbeing Services county Pirkanmaa provides expertise in nearly all medical specialties in Pirkanmaa area in Finland. The Clinical chemistry research group is directly connected to both Tampere University Hospital and Tampere University enabling the collection of high-quality cohorts and access to excellent research infrastructure – Clinical chemistry functions as a research unit in the interface of laboratory medicine and university research.

The University of Bern, at the heart of Switzerland, is a hub of global connections and local engagement. It forges partnerships across science, medicine, business, and politics, emphasizing ethical responsibility. Renowned for problem-oriented research, the university serves as a key regional educator and industry promoter. It is dedicated to equal opportunities, fostering work-life balance, ensuring safe environments, and actively increasing gender diversity across all faculty levels.

From humble beginnings in 1945, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, now known as QIMR Berghofer, is one of Australia’s most successful medical research institutes, translating discoveries from bench to bedside for a better future of health.

Born in Bradford (BiB), a renowned research program focused on factors influencing family health and happiness. Operating in collaboration with local entities, BiB manages three birth cohorts (BiB Cohort, Born in Bradford’s Better Start, and BiB4All) in total the program collects data on over 12,400 families. Each division conducts longitudinal studies, administers surveys, and collects biological samples to explore health trends. Applying its findings to science-based guidelines. Additionally, Connected Bradford compiles longitudinal data for 600,000 citizens, aiming to enhance healthcare pathways. 

Throughout our history, we’ve fostered social justice and improved lives through academic excellence. And we continue to live and breathe this spirit today, not because it’s simply ‘the right thing to do’ but for what it helps us achieve and the intellectual brilliance it delivers.

Our reformer heritage informs our conviction that great ideas can and should come from anywhere. It’s an approach that has brought results across the globe, from the communities of east London to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

We continue to embrace diversity of thought and opinion in everything we do, in the belief that when views collide, disciplines interact, and perspectives intersect, truly original thought takes form.

Extra information

External Advisory Board

The main objectives of BETTER4U are to:

Maria Kafyra

PhD, project manager of BETTER4U, is a Dietitian-Nutritionist and postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in HUA. Specializes in nutrigenetics, with research focusing on obesity, cardiometabolic, and age-related disorders, contributing to multiple peer-reviewed publications.

Yannis Manios

Professor and Dean of the School of Health Science & Education. Co-authored 640+ scientific papers (h-index 74). Coordinator in 4 and Principal Investigator in 20+ EU-funded projects. Leading WP7: “Implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the BETTER4U Lifestyle Personalized Intervention”.

George Dedoussis

George Dedoussis, Coordinator of BETTER4U, is a Professor of Molecular Genetics and Nutrigenetics, and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance at HUA. He has over 360 publications and 70,000 citations (h-index: 107), earning him recognition as one of the most cited scientists worldwide in the last decade.

Panagiotis Moulos

Research Assistant Professor in Bioinformatics at the BSRC ‘Alexander Fleming’ with >50 publications, develops novel methods and software for the analysis, harmonization and integration of -omics data with clinical utility. In BETTER4U, he acts as Senior Bioinformatician.

Vasiliki Vavouraki

Project Administrator of BETTER4U, is a Dietitian-Nutritionist, MSc candidate in “Applied Nutrition and Dietetics,” and research scientist in Professor Dedoussis’s team at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in HUA.