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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Research Project #438154

Research Project: Biomarkers of Nutritional Status Resulting from Altered Food Composition

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

2022 Annual Report

The objective of the proposed research is to develop biomarkers of nutritional status as affected by nutrient content of foods produced under changing environmental conditions.

This will be accomplished through the approaches of mass spectroscopy of plasma constituents including nutrients, metabolites, or other compounds; development of new measurement technologies; or, mathematical approaches to collectively analyze patterns of nutrients in biological fluids. The proposed research will address Problem Statement 1A: Determine Agricultural Practices that Influence the Nutritional Status of Americans.

Progress Report
Scientists from USDA, ARS, the Children's Nutrition Research Center, and the Institute for Advancing Health through Agriculture (IHA) will collaboratively conduct a broad range of research activities that will address the critical intersection of production agriculture with human, environmental, and economic health outcomes. Advancing the food and agriculture system synergy will improve diets and health outcomes, reduce diet-related health care costs, improve quality of life, limit the environmental impact of the agriculture system, and reduce food waste while increasing food production to levels needed to nourish the estimated more than 9 billion people on earth by 2050. To better align production agricultural systems with human, environmental, and economic health outcomes, research will be conducted that expands and improves the evidence-base for connecting food and nutrient intakes with health promotion and chronic disease prevention across the human life course. The agriculture system provides opportunities to substantially reduce diet-related chronic diseases with approximately 50% of US adults being treated for a chronic disease. Chronic diseases emerge through interactions among many dietary exposures and physiological pathways, therefore one must consider systems/networks over pathways, and establish system readouts as biomarkers of health (integrative biomarkers) to understand how nutrition modifies biomarkers of aging and biomarkers of age-related physiological system decay. Researchers will conduct studies to define and refine the critical intersection among responsive agriculture, quality food production, and human nutrition and health that will demonstrate advancements in the food and agriculture system and provide data for public health recommendations. Elucidating, synthesizing, and disseminating evidence-based findings that connect dietary intakes to health promotion and chronic disease prevention across the lifespan is a major gap to setting future nutrient- and food-based requirements, and providing more precision approaches to dietary guidance. USDA, ARS, Texas A&M Agrilife and Children's Nutrition Research Center scientists participated in the search for an ARS Research Leader for the Responsive Agricultural Food Systems Research Unit that will collaborate with the Institute for Advancing Health through Agriculture. This team of scientists also participated in the development of position description development and in the interview process for two ARS research scientist positions (precision nutrition and responsive agriculture) and interviews are currently underway.