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Introducing the First Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research

Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research

The Strategic Plan lays a bold framework to help answer important nutrition research questions over the next 10 years.

The seemingly simple question “What should I eat to be healthy?” is not simple at all, nor is it the same for people of different ages or sizes, nor across food environments and microbiomes.

The NIH recently published its first Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research to help answer this question and many others related to nutrition and diseases linked to poor diet. The plan emphasizes innovative opportunities to advance nutrition research. From basic science to experimental design to research training, these opportunities will complement and enhance ongoing research efforts across NIH to improve health and to prevent or combat diseases and conditions affected by nutrition.

The research supported by the plan will help develop more targeted and effective diet interventions that are more specific to individuals to improve and maintain health in an increasingly diverse U.S. population. 

More specifically, the plan calls for a multidisciplinary approach through expanded collaboration across NIH Institutes and Centers to explore and answer the following strategic goals and key questions.

  • Spur Discovery and Innovation through Foundational Research – What do we eat and how does it affect us?
  • Investigate the Role of Dietary Patterns and Behaviors for Optimal Health – What and when should we eat?
  • Define the Role of Nutrition Across the Lifespan – How does what we eat promote health across our lifespan?
  • Reduce the Burden of Disease in Clinical Settings – How can we improve the use of food as medicine?

The plan has five cross-cutting areas relevant to all these strategic goals,

  • Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Health of Women
  • Rigor and Reproducibility
  • Data Science, Systems Science, and Artificial Intelligence
  • Training the Nutrition Scientific Workforce

Research proposals from all sources and on all aspects of nutrition research are welcome, and NIH will continue to fund meritorious research that addresses many important topics in nutrition research, not solely topics identified in the plan. Researchers and health care professionals are encouraged to refer to the plan to help guide their research efforts.

The NIH Nutrition Research Task Force helped to guide plan development with extensive input from the broader external research community and the public. Updates on the plan's progress will be posted on their website.

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