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U.S. Department of Agriculture announces $5.7M in funding for diet and nutrition projects

U.S. Department of Agriculture announces $5.7M in funding for diet and nutrition projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced an investment of over $5 million to support projects that impact diet, nutrition and chronic disease prevention.

“Over the years, public and private organizations have devoted immeasurable resources and research to finding causes, treatments and cures for chronic diseases,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “We know that two of the most important factors in preventing chronic disease are a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle. Investing in integrated research, education and Extension programs that seek to improve diet and nutrition, while working to prevent chronic disease, is a critical component of NIFA’s work. Outcomes of these projects will have long-lasting impacts on health and wellness of Americans nationwide.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites chronic disease as the leading cause of death in the United States and a leading driver in annual health care costs.

This investment is part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Diet, Nutrition and Prevention of Chronic Disease grant program. Projects seek to develop, implement and evaluate innovative research, educational and outreach strategies to improve eating patterns that support chronic disease prevention.

NIFA is funding 10 projects for fiscal year 2021, totaling $5,750,782. Examples of funded projects include:

• A study at Purdue University in Indiana will determine the effect of adult-focused, direct Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program education on child dietary quality and household food security, with the goal of improving food security and dietary intake in food insecure households with children. ($969,996)

• Extension educators at the University of Kentucky will employ a community-based healthy eating intervention program to improve healthy eating and food security in a rural Kentucky community, thereby supporting a pathway to self-sufficiency and reducing obesity. ($969,720)

• Researchers at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, will develop and pilot test a food, human health and climate health intervention to reduce the prevalence of obesity and associated chronic diseases among adolescents. ($298,290)

• An integrated project at South Dakota State University will assess whether the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a cost-effective intervention that generates sustained improvement in biomarkers of chronic disease risk among adult EFNEP participants. The project will lead to an online cost-benefit analysis tool that EFNEP program coordinators nationally can use to assess the value created by nutrition education interventions. ($963,368)

This funding investments supports USDA efforts to strengthen food security to ensure our nation’s children and all Americans have access to healthy food so they can grow and thrive.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY 2021, NIFA’s total investment was $1.96 billion.