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Life Stage Nutrition and Metabolism 

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: Human Nutrition Research Priorities
: David Klurfeld506 31 Aug 2012
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Three of the 6 Human Nutrition Research Centers have Congressionally-mandated missions to study nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating women, the fetus, infants, children, and the aging population. We need to explain mechanisms by which nutrition promotes healthy development and function from conception to old age. We will define the nutritional basis for, and consequences of, nutritional programming.

1) Martha Belury18 (05 Sep 2012)
This is already in the NCHID, NIA etc of NIH. Why be redundant with such limited resources?
2) Michael Falk9 (20 Sep 2012)
I'm not sure of the purpose of calling out this priority. Is it to highlight the life stage aspects of the existent HNRC programs, is it to expand the life stage aspects of the HNRC programs, or is it to validate the HNRC programs in their entirety. I support the latter two but I'm ambivalent about the first.
3) Johanna Dwyer40 (24 Sep 2012)
An extremely important area and one the ARS and its centers needs to work closely with FNS (the big food programs) AoA (elders) and other groups to craft policy relevant research. The nutritional elements of the life stages often get short shrift in larger agencies with broader missions so it is important to keep a focus of this in USDA. Nobody at NIH is likely to study the nutrient needs of elders, or infants etc. for example, in the depth thatthe USDA Centers have done.
4) Robert Fireovid3 (25 Sep 2012)
This is a test.
5) Connye Kuratko16 (10 Oct 2012)
Proposed comment: The 2010 DGA provided valuable guidance regarding the importance of the omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the diets of pregnant and nursing women. However, the importance of the omega-3 fatty acids, and DHA in particular, in other life stages and beyond cardiovascular disease needs further exploration. Research regarding the role of DHA in preserving cognitive function in Americans 50 years and older should be promoted as well as that to understand the role of DHA in brain and eye development and function of children. Given that seafood consumption is generally low in the United States, that there is increasing reliance on farmed fish, and that levels of omega-3 fatty acids in farmed fish have been reported to be falling markedly, research to understand the role of omega-3 fortified foods and dietary supplements in achieving higher omega-3 intakes should also be supported.
6) Mark Cope14 (11 Oct 2012)
Improved nutrition (including adequate protein intake) with increased levels of physical activity among older adults could help reduce risks of chronic diseases and improve quality of life. Additional clinical research is needed to investigate long term benefits of high quality proteins on health outcomes (like sarcopenia) during aging. Other important areas of research for this population are gut health and immunity. Investigations to determine the beneficial gastrointestinal and immune effects of probiotics on this population are warranted. Clinical evidence to support the benefits of high quality protein and probiotics in the diet will facilitate the development of future dietary guidelines for the aging population.
7) Sarah Levy12 (15 Oct 2012)
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) encourages ARS to leverage the research and data being produced and driven by the NIH in this area. Nutritional programming is an important and emerging area of nutrition science. Further research is needed to better define how prenatal nutrition and early infant feeding (including all methods of feeding, i.e. breastfeeding, supplemental feeding, infant formula feeding, and the feeding of complimentary foods) help shape the trajectory for growth and utilization of calories as well as help define the range of calories needed. Equally important is a better definition of the unique nutrient requirements for infants and young children, as well as the role of specific nutrients in maintaining the functionality and cognition of the elderly. Moreover, older sectors of the population have unique needs including both specific nutrients and sources for adequate hydration. It also is important to investigate the beneficial effects of nonessential nutrients in maintaining optimal health, well-being and quality of life for individuals of all ages.

In addition, research is needed to better assess protein needs for weight management or for maximizing body composition throughout the lifecycle. Current protein recommendations are based on the minimum requirement to prevent protein deficiency via nitrogen balance studies; however, in light of current obesity rates, it is important to evaluate the optimal macronutrient composition of the diet to help individuals maintain or lose weight while maintaining lean mass.