Values at stake: autonomy, responsibility, and trustworthiness in relation to genetic testing and personalized nutrition advice

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Personalized nutrition has the potential to enhance individual health control. It could be seen as a means to strengthen people’s autonomy as they learn more about their personal health risks, and receive dietary advice accordingly. We examine in what sense personalized nutrition strengthens or weakens individual autonomy. The impact of personalized nutrition on autonomy is analyzed in relation to responsibility and trustworthiness. On a societal level, individualization of health promotion may be accompanied by the attribution of extended individual responsibility for one’s health. This constitutes a dilemma of individualization, caused by a conflict between the right to individual freedom and societal interests. The extent to which personalized nutrition strengthens autonomy is consequently influenced by how responsibility for health is allocated to individuals. Ethically adequate allocation of responsibility should focus on prospective responsibility and be differentiated with regard to individual differences concerning the capacity of adults to take responsibility. The impact of personalized nutrition on autonomy also depends on its methodological design. Owing to the complexity of information received, personalized nutrition through genetic testing (PNTGT) is open to misinterpretation and may not facilitate informed choices and autonomy. As new technologies, personalized nutrition and PNTGT are subject to issues of trust. To strengthen autonomy, trust should be approached in terms of trustworthiness. Trustworthiness implies that an organization that develops or introduces personalized nutrition can show that it is competent to deal with both the technical and moral dimensions at stake and that its decisions are motivated by the interests and expectations of the truster.


  • Karin Nordström
  • Niklas Juth
  • Sofia Kjellström
  • Franck L.B. Meijboom
  • Ulf Görman
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • External Organization - Unknown
  • Jönköping University

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

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Sidor (från-till)365-372
TidskriftGenes & Nutrition
Utgåva nummer4
StatusPublished - 2013
Peer review utfördJa