Nutrition research is urgently needed in America
A team of leading nutrition researchers and food policy experts are calling for urgent action and coordinated efforts to confront the ongoing nutrition crisis in America.
The team presented a case for strengthening federal nutrition research at Nutrition 2020 live online, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).
The experts want to raise awareness about the alarming state of American health, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and to share their vision for advancing nutrition policy.
“The time has come for a national ‘moonshot’ on nutrition research,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Tufts University.
“A strengthening of federal nutrition research has significant potential to generate new discoveries to improve and sustain the health of all Americans, reduce healthcare costs, improve health disparities, create new businesses and jobs, reinvigorate farms and rural communities, strengthen military readiness and optimize use of our natural resources.”
Tens of millions of Americans are food insecure, and around 40,000 die from diseases related to poor diets every month.
Sick people outnumber healthy people in America, with half of adults suffering from diabetes or prediabetes and more than half of adults facing excessive weight and obesity.
According to the experts, nearly three-quarters of young Americans cannot qualify for military service, and obesity is the leading medical reason.
“COVID-19 pulled back the curtain on so many food and nutrition issues,” said Mozaffarian. “Food is the number one cause of poor health in America, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year on preventable, diet-related illnesses.”
The session highlights research that will soon be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study authors examined the current state of nutrition research and identified strategies to promote further studies and improve food policy across federal organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“We hope this session, and the forthcoming white paper, will spark a broad national conversation around the critical importance of national nutrition research and the very real opportunities before us,” said Mozaffarian. “We don’t have time to wait.”
The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.