Clinical and Translational Nutrition
Cellular and Physiological Nutrition/Metabolism
Van Hubbard, MD, PhD
Rear Admiral (Ret), US Public Health Service
Former Director, NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, Maryland, United States
The US faces a national nutrition crisis. Changes in Americans’ diets have spawned major rises in diet-related chronic diseases, contributed to skyrocketing healthcare costs, widened diet-related health disparities, and weakened military readiness, with additional unparalleled challenges to our natural resources and food systems.
These chronic strains have been further laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak has highlighted many national food and nutrition challenges, including related to hunger and food insecurity, major diet-related comorbidities for hospitalization and death, insufficient surveillance and coordination of supply chains, and inadequate science to make robust nutritional recommendations for resilient population immune responses.
This session will present and discuss new work and findings on how improved coordination and investment in federal nutrition research is crucial to improve public health, health equity, healthcare spending, military readiness, and resilience for future crises. The session aims to provide an objective, informative summary for diverse stakeholders on nutrition research-related health and economic burdens, current landscape, opportunities, and options for strengthening national nutrition research.
Building on a new comprehensive white paper on strengthening federal nutrition research supported through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, two panels with a diversity of experts will outline the current state, challenges, and opportunities for strengthening federal nutrition research. This includes approaches for new cross-governmental coordination of nutrition research across the more than 10 federal departments and agencies that currently conduct or rely on federally supported human nutrition research and for increasing nutrition research investment and structure at the National Institutes of Health. We aim for the session to include a keynote from a federal lawmaker on potential to address some of these problems and policy solutions. Finally, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) will share its contributions to exploring these options for strengthening federal nutrition research and conclude with action steps ASN members can take to advance and strengthen federal nutrition research.