Centuries of scientific advances in agriculture have increased the quantity, quality, and variety of our food supply. Food in the United States is abundant and affordable, incomes are at record levels, nutrition and health knowledge is at an all-time high. Yet many Americans are not eating a proper diet. The result is an obesity epidemic that contributes to rising healthcare costs from increased rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several cancers.
Whether we see food as medicine or as the cause of disease, medical and agricultural research have the potential to come together in innovative ways to help consumers and producers understand and face the challenges of following a healthful diet. More than 100 leaders in agriculture, health research, education policy, and industry convened at the National Academies in June 2003 to share their opinions on what would be a more efficient and effective system for conducting food and health research. Some of their thoughts follow. Participants concluded that no one organization or agency can solve food-related health issues alone-- the nation needs better mechanisms for bringing together its agriculture and health-care infrastructures to address food-related health problems. Addressing the obesity issue, in particular, will require a multidisciplinary strategy that includes research on foods, consumer knowledge and behavior, and the economics of food- and health-related activities, including food pricing, health-care costs, and agricultural support programs.
Table of Contents
|2 Government Initiatives on Food and Health||11-22|
|3 Integrative Research Infrastructure for Food, Agriculture, and Health||23-34|
|4 Challenges Faced and Met in Research on Food and Health||35-44|
|5 Breakout Group Discussions||45-54|
|Appendix A: Agenda||59-62|
|Appendix B: Speaker Biographies||63-76|
|Board on Agriculture and National Resources Publications||77-80|
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