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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Research Project #438179

Research Project: Aligning Production Agricultural Systems to Enhance Diet and Health Outcomes

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

2021 Annual Report

Children's Nutrition Research Center and Texas A&M Agrilife Research scientists 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 cohesiveness will improve diets and health outcomes, reduce diet-related health care costs, limit the environmental impact of the agriculture system, and reduce food waste while increasing food production to levels needed to nourish the estimated 9+ billion people on earth by 2050.

To better align production agricultural systems with human, environmental, and economic health outcomes, evidence-based research will be conducted that connects food and nutrient intakes with health promotion and chronic disease prevention across the human lifespan. 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 nutrients and physiological pathways, thereby 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 markers 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. Collecting evidence-base findings that connect nutrient intakes to health promotion and chronic disease prevention across the lifespan is a major gap to setting future nutrient-based and food-based requirements. This research will develop a proof-of concept for developing connections that may be explored more in-depth in future studies.

Progress Report
This year, representatives with Texas A&M AgriLife participated in the recruitment of an ARS research scientist position that will be focused on the area of precision nutrition. We provided input regarding the drafting of the position description, recruitment of the position and served on the interview panel for the position. Unfortunately, no selection was made. Texas A&M AgriLife made plans for restarting the research objectives and initiating a scientist position focused on precision agriculture. Additional position descriptions are under development. Texas A&M AgriLife successfully hired a post-doctoral candidate to initiate work on the project. Additionally, they hired an Interim Director for "The Institute for Health Through Agriculture".