The exposome

Our health is shaped by environmental factors that we humans are exposed to on a daily basis: what we eat, the air we breathe, our social interactions and lifestyle choices such as smoking and exercising. It explains an estimated 70% of the chronic disease burden. Since most aspects of our environment are modifiable, this provides a huge potential for disease prevention. Leading scientist in Europe and the USA have formalised the sum of all these environmental drivers of health and diseases as the exposome.

The exposome concept is trying to capture everything to understand which, how, in what quantities, and in what circumstances environmental drivers have an effect on our health. Interacting with the genome, it defines individual health at different stages throughout the life course, including foetal life.

Studying the exposome requires consideration of:

  • The multitude of interrelated individual exposures: the specific external exposome;
  • The wider behavioural and social context in which these exposures occur: the general external exposome;
  • Their impact inside the human body: the internal exposome. 

Source: Utrecht University


Decoding the exposome

Decoding the exposome

Exposome-NL is a Dutch consortium of over fifty scientists from different disciplines, universities and medical centres. Together the scientists will systematically sequence the environmental factors influencing our health.

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