News - October 19, 2015

Frans Kok received a ribbon at his farewell

Rob Ramaker

The professor in nutrition Frans Kok was knighted at his farewell. Kok has retired and last Thursday he had his farewell of Wageningen University in Orion.

Photo: Guy Ackermans

Kok became ‘Ridder in de orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw’. Jean Paul Gebben, the mayor of Renkum, pinned the ribbon on Kok. In the accompanying speech he praised Kok for his academic performance, but also for his social contribution to the promotion of a healthy diet. The ceremony was part of the farewell congress of Kok. Except for Walter Willet, honorary doctor of Wageningen University, there were also several other international speakers.

The general public usually recognises Kok from the media. Where he fought many ‘charlatans and gurus'. But in the book Gezond eten: Gewoon doen (eating healthy: just do it) he showed – using himself as a guinea pig – the difference between an unhealthy and a healthy diet. In
addition, as head of the department of Human Nutrition he expanded two chair groups to five. Furthermore, he published more than 300 papers, supervised around 70 promotions and among other things he was dean of the Wageningen University for a couple of year.

At his farewell Kok presented a few interesting themes for future research. He thinks that research needs to be done on the ‘double burden’ of the poor nutrition for children in developing countries. There malnutrition exists  – as shortage of varied nutrition during childhood – besides the malnutrition of high availability of fats and sugar rich food. Kok also questioned which food could counteract mental decline of elderly people.

As head of the department Human nutrition, Kok will be followed up by Kees de Graaf. Earlier this year Ellen Kampman and Edith Feskens were appointed as new chair group holder within the department.