The Division of Nutritional Science studies human nutrition at levels ranging from molecules to populations, drawing upon the chemical, biological, and social sciences to understand the complex relationships among human health, nutritional status, food and lifestyle patterns, and social and institutional environments. Understanding these relationships includes the study of the metabolic regulation and function of nutrients, nutrient requirements through the life span, role of diet in reducing risk of disease, nutritional quality of foods, and interventions and policies designed to promote nutritional health of individuals and populations.

image depicts 4 equal sections as cubes naming the 4 areas of DNS research: top left cube says Precision Nutrition; top right cube says Lifecycle Nutrition; bottom left cube says Sustainable food and nutrition systems for health; and bottom right cube says social and behavioral nutrition

Nutritional Sciences programs focus on advancing our understanding of nutrition and health at the interface of disciplines and sectors by highlighting the areas of:

  • Precision Nutrition: refers to optimizing human nutrition for health, wellness and performance. Individuals respond differently to food and nutrient exposures because of differences in genetics, epigenetics, microbiome composition, other environmental exposures and life-style factors.
  • Lifecycle Nutrition: aims to develop theories and models to further understand stem cell programming, parental nutritional status influences on fetal, infant and life-long health, as well as variable nutritional requirements across developmental stages, including aging.
  • Sustainable Food and Nutrition Systems for Health: applies social science and system approaches to develop sustainable solutions to nutrition and global health problems with a focus on the role of the food system.
  • Social and Behavioral Nutrition: draws on theories, conceptual models and methods from the social and behavioral sciences to further the understanding of the complexities of food consumption and other nutrition-related behaviors, including physical activity, in order to advance basic knowledge and to design, implement and evaluate innovative and effective interventions and policies

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