Federal Human Nutrition Research Needs a Coordinated Approach To Advance Nutrition Knowledge (Two Volumes)

PSAD-77-156: Published: Mar 28, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 1978.

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Each year the Federal Government spends between $73 million and $117 million on human nutrition research. This represents about 3 percent of the $3 billion it spends annually on all research in agriculture and health. Several Federal departments and agencies support human nutrition research although no department or agency has human nutrition as its primary mission.

Major knowledge gaps and related research needs have been classified into four broad and interrelated areas that are important for sound nutrition planning whether a nutrition program's target is an entire population, a population subgroup, or an individual. The areas include: human nutritional requirements; food composition and nutrient availability; diet, disease causation, and food safety; and food consumption and nutritional status. Research needs for responding to these knowledge gaps include: long-term studies of human subjects across the full range of both health and disease; comparative studies in populations of different geographic, cultural, and genetic backgrounds; basic investigation of the functions and interactions of dietary components; updated and expanded food composition data; and improved techniques for assessing long-term toxicological risks. The following barriers to nutrition research persist: lack of central focus and coordination, shortage of nutrition scientists, and uncertainty of Federal funds for extramural research.

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