NIH Releases Strategic Plan to Accelerate Nutrition Research
The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF) released the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research. The Strategic Plan is the first NIH-wide plan for nutrition research, emphasizing cross-cutting, innovative opportunities to advance nutrition research across a wide range of areas. These opportunities complement and enhance ongoing research efforts across NIH to improve health and prevent or combat conditions affected by nutrition.
The Strategic Plan includes four Strategic Goals to guide NIH to precision nutrition for optimal health within the next ten years.
1. To spur discovery and innovation through foundational research to ensure a strong foundation of basic and methodological research in nutrition science through integrated connections with other fields of study such as bioinformatics, neurobiology, and genomics;
2. To investigate the role of dietary patterns and behaviors for optimal health to illuminate how specific dietary patterns influence health outcomes in different ways among individuals, subgroups, and communities—toward determining effective strategies to create and sustain nutrition-related behaviors conducive to optimal health;
3. To define the role of nutrition across the lifespan to create a better understanding of how nutritional needs and eating behaviors change over time, focusing on three time-windows that have been especially understudied: pregnancy, infancy and toddlerhood, and older adulthood;
4. To reduce the burden of disease in the clinical setting by expanding knowledge about the role of nutrition in disease. This research will grow evidence toward the development of “Food as Medicine” and medical nutrition therapies for improved health.
“Good nutrition is so central to our livelihood that it is hard to consider it as an isolated area of research, and we must not ignore its broad influence on individual and community health,” stated NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in the report. “This Plan will guide nutrition science over the next 10 years into uncharted, but tremendously exciting, new territory. This new landscape creates a holistic, interdisciplinary investigational approach to nutrition science and will simplify our ability to know what’s best to eat for good health.”