American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting
American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Collins FS. Opening session and presidential symposium: The ethics of eating. Presented at: Nutrition 2020; June 1-4, 2020 (virtual meeting).


NIH. NIH releases strategic plan to accelerate nutrition research over next 10 years. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-releases-strategic-plan-accelerate-nutrition-research-over-next-10-years. Accessed June 1, 2020.

Disclosures: Collins reports no relevant financial disclosures.
June 02, 2020
2 min read
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New NIH research goals focus on ‘precision nutrition’

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Collins FS. Opening session and presidential symposium: The ethics of eating. Presented at: Nutrition 2020; June 1-4, 2020 (virtual meeting).


NIH. NIH releases strategic plan to accelerate nutrition research over next 10 years. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-releases-strategic-plan-accelerate-nutrition-research-over-next-10-years. Accessed June 1, 2020.

Disclosures: Collins reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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The NIH has recently announced the launch of a new strategic plan to advance nutrition research for the next 10 years.

The objective, according to the NIH, is for physicians to be able to recommend what, when, why and how each individual should eat to optimize their health — an approach known as “precision nutrition.”

Fast food
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NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, discussed the new strategic plan — released on May 27 — during the opening session of Nutrition 2020. The meeting is being held virtually after initially being canceled because of COVID-19.

“The nutrition research field, I believe, is poised to make a leap forward by taking advantage of a lot of insights and technologies and rethinking the approach to answering those age-old questions about how food influences our health and what we can do about it,” Collins said.

The new strategic plan was developed by the NIH’s Nutrition Research Task Force. The NIH has dedicated more than $1.9 billion in the fiscal year 2019 to support the plan.

There are four major goals that the task force aims to accomplish by 2030. The first goal is to answer the question: “What do we eat and how does it affect us?”

“That’s the basic science part of what this plan puts forward,” Collins said. “This includes getting more information about the microbiome and the role that it plays in diet, new technologies for capturing dietary intake — because we can do a lot better than the questionnaires that we’ve had to depend on — and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning on large datasets to make inferences on diet and health.”

The second goal is to answer: “What and when should we eat?” This will involve gaining a better understanding of interventions such as circadian rhythm and the potential role of fasting, which Collins said, “is a big and important issue right now.”

The third goal is to answer: “How does what we eat promote health across our lifespan?”

“A lot of the focus here is on what happens in those early years because we do know that developmental origins of health and disease is a big deal, but we still don’t have nearly enough information to understand that connection,” Collins said.

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The fourth goal is to answer: “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

“We have not fully figured out how to make that a reality,” Collins said. “The big question is about probiotics. How can we figure out how to take a very big field, at least in terms of what we see at the grocery store shelves, and provide a more rigorous scientific basis behind this in terms of how it can help people both treating illnesses and avoiding them in the first place?”

The strategic plan also outlines five cross-cutting areas that are relevant to each goal. These areas focus on minority health and disparities; women’s health; rigor and reproducibility; data science and artificial intelligence; and training the next generation of the nutrition scientific workforce, according to the NIH. Collins said that he hopes the new plan will attract people with diverse backgrounds and disciplines into the workforce.

“We want to invigorate nutrition research with those kinds of interdisciplinary moments where the sparks fly between people who have different ideas and they figure out how you can take an engineering perspective, a biological perspective and a microbiological perspective and turn that into a really interesting project,” he said. “That’s often where the big advances happen, and I hope this workforce will allow that.”