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Objective

While the rates of overweight and obesity are growing in low-, middle- and high-income countries due to overconsumption of calories and physical inactivity, persistent rates of micronutrient deficiencies exist across many populations. These growing public health challenges require unique interventions across many settings. The ILSI Research Foundation is committed to improving nutrition and health through cross-disciplinary research, with a particular focus on improving the accessibility of food composition and dietary intake data, open data and methods harmonization, and the drivers of food choice.

Collaborators & Partners

ILSI Branches, Global Nutrition Strategy Working Group, Crop Composition Working Group

Areas of Focus

The ILSI Research Foundation is focused on the following activities related to nutrition:

World Nutrient Databases for Dietary Studies

The ILSI Research Foundation has compiled a catalogue of national, regional and international food composition databases used for dietary assessments. This interactive, online resource is available to the public.

Crop Composition Database

The ILSI Research Foundation’s CCDB is a curated, open resource that provides data on the natural variability in the nutritional composition (e.g., nutrients, anti-nutrients, and secondary metabolites) of key crop species. These data can be applied to improve overall knowledge of human nutrition, inform the development of diets that promote the healthy growth of livestock, and improve global datasets related to food security and nutrition modeling.

Fruit and Vegetable Supply Chains

The ILSI Research Foundation is co-leading a project that will help the US maintain a nutritious, reliable, affordable, and environmentally-sound food supply.

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work being done by the ILSI Research Foundation by reading our monthly e-newsletter.

TAKE10

Developed by the ILSI Research Foundation, TAKE10 promotes physical activity, healthy eating, and learning in a fun and creative way.

Seven Food System Metrics of Sustainable Nutrition Security

Sustainability considerations have been absent from most food security assessments conducted to date, despite the tremendous economic, environmental, and social implications of meeting accelerating food demand in the face of water shortages and climate change.

Read more

¡Miranos! (Look at Us! We Are Healthy!): Home-Based and Parent Peer-Led Childhood Obesity Prevention

Parent interventions for childhood obesity prevention have traditionally experienced low participation rates or used passive methods such as newsletters. In contrast, the ¡Miranos! intervention home-based activities included parent-led face-to-face meetings delivered after school, take-home bags with educational materials, and scavenger hunt games to deliver health information to Head Start families regarding nutrition, physical activity, and healthy growth promotion for their preschooler.

Read more

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DOI: 10.3390/su8030196

Background: The world faces an escalating challenge to meet accelerating demand for sustainably-produced, nutritious food in the face of human population pressure, resource scarcity, ecosystem degradation, and climate change. As the ambitious Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) give way to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), about 795 million people globally are still without sufficient calories and at least two billion lack sufficient nutrients.  The ILSI Research Foundation has developed and published a new paper giving a unique set of metrics for measuring food system performance.  The metrics make it possible to set meaningful goals, track progress, and evaluate the potential impact of food system interventions intended to improve sustainability and human nutrition outcomes.

Abstract: Sustainability considerations have been absent from most food security assessments conducted to date, despite the tremendous economic, environmental, and social implications of meeting accelerating food demand in the face of water shortages and climate change. In addition, previous food security work has generally focused only on achieving adequate calories, rather than addressing dietary diversity and micronutrient adequacy, both of which are critical to maintaining a healthy overall nutritional status. In response to the limitations of previous assessments, a new methodology is proposed here based on the concept of “sustainable nutrition security” (SNS). This novel assessment methodology is intended to remedy both kinds of deficiencies in the previous work by defining seven metrics, each based on a combination of multiple indicators, for use in characterizing sustainable nutrition outcomes of food systems: (1) food nutrient adequacy; (2) ecosystem stability; (3) food affordability and availability; (4) sociocultural wellbeing; (5) food safety; (6) resilience; and (7) waste and loss reduction. Each of the metrics comprises multiple indicators that are combined to derive an overall score (0–100). A novel SNS assessment methodology based on these metrics can be deployed by decision-makers and investors to set meaningful goals, track progress, and evaluate the potential impact of food system interventions intended to improve sustainability and human nutrition outcomes.

Download the journal article here.

Resources

Download the metric paper news release here.

Download the 7 food system metrics of sustainable nutrition security infographic available in English or Spanish.

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Legacy Work

Diet and Physical Activity Interventions in Latin America

“Healthy Lifestyles Healthy People” was a project in 2008 that provided grants to investigators in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico to develop obesity prevention approaches through diet and physical activity interventions in Latin America. View the publications.

Methods and Participant Characteristics of a Randomized Intervention to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Among Brazilian High School Students: the Saude na Boa Project

A cross-cultural, randomized study was proposed to observe the effects of a school-based intervention designed to promote physical activity and healthy eating among high school students in 2 cities from different regions in Brazil: Recife and Florianopolis. The objective of this article is to describe the methodology and subjects enrolled in the project.

Read more

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Partnership for Achieving Healthier Lifestyles in New Mexico

“Get Healthy Together” was a lifestyle intervention project implemented through a partnership between the ILSI Research Foundation, New Mexico Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the University of New Mexico in 2007. The project evaluated the impact of pediatric obesity counseling self-efficacy and client satisfaction associated with the provision of augmented counseling tools, counseling skills training, and a personal wellness promotion for WIC staff in New Mexico. View the publications.

¡Miranos! (Look at Us! We Are Healthy!): Home-Based and Parent Peer-Led Childhood Obesity Prevention

Parent interventions for childhood obesity prevention have traditionally experienced low participation rates or used passive methods such as newsletters. In contrast, the ¡Miranos! intervention home-based activities included parent-led face-to-face meetings delivered after school, take-home bags with educational materials, and scavenger hunt games to deliver health information to Head Start families regarding nutrition, physical activity, and healthy growth promotion for their preschooler.

Read more

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Integration of Nutrition, Food Science, and Community

The ILSI Research Foundation served as the secretariat for the International Nutritional Anemia Consultative Group (INACG) and the International Vitamin A Consultative Group (IVACG) from 1984 to 2006. INACG was dedicated to reducing the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia and other nutritionally preventable anemias worldwide through sponsoring international meetings, scientific reviews and task forces. IVACG guided international activities for reducing Vitamin A deficiency in the world through stimulating and disseminating new knowledge to enable practical application. INACG and IVACG were replaced by the Micronutrient Forum. View the publications.

INACG Publications

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IVACG Publications

IVACG: Status of the Studies on Vitamin A and HIV

Despite the lack of evidence that vitamin A supplementation can reduce vertical transmission of HIV, there is still an enormous burden of morbidity and mortality related to vitamin A deficiency in sub- Saharan Africa and other areas of the developing world. Control of vitamin A deficiency remains an important health intervention.

Read more

IVACG: Vitamin A and Iron Interactions

Available evidence indicates that vitamin A deficiency is often associated with iron deficiency anemia and that vitamin A supplementation can have a beneficial effect on iron status. However, it is important to remember that iron deficiency is the primary cause of anemia and that vitamin A cannot overcome severe underlying iron deficiency.

Read more

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