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Resolving on a Healthier Future

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research profile.

Chances are that among many of the Americans who made a New Year’s resolution, nutrition figures somewhere in their goal. They may be aiming to shed a few pounds, or opt for a healthier diet, or perhaps they’re going for the whole package of a healthier lifestyle encompassing both diet and exercise.

While it’s not exactly a New Year’s resolution, a group of federal agencies is making a fresh start this month with the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research (ICHNR), co-chaired by Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, and Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. The committee was chartered in 1983 and will be reestablished in 2013.

This year, the group will renew its commitment, in light of encouragement from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), to “speak as one” on the subject of nutrition.  The ICHNR certainly has the nutrition expertise that Americans crave. It includes representation from the departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Defense, and Commerce; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the Veterans Administration; the Federal Trade Commission; the National Science Foundation; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); and OSTP.

In its previous years of activity, the committee had a major impact on American nutrition in a variety of ways, including initiating the first coordinated discussion of nutrition and AIDS; focusing attention on the interrelationships of food, nutrition and health, and their contribution to health care costs; and holding one of the first trans-federal government meetings focused on overweight and obesity.

Going forward, the ICHNR will enhance coordination of Federal agencies engaged in nutrition research to help ensure that the nation benefits from  focused, strategic human nutrition research, and that the results will provide clear information and guidance for Americans resolved to create a healthier future for themselves.

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