opportunity, Healy said. “This is the time for the science of nutrition. This is the moment, and we have to seize it.”

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS TO THE SCIENTIFIC SESSIONS

Presented by John Milner, Chief, Nutritional Science Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute


There is, today, an unprecedented opportunity to use foods and food components to aid in achieving the genetic potential of humans, improve the overall performance of humans, and reduce the risk for chronic disease. The field of nutrigenomics holds promise for understanding genetic variability and identifying individuals who will or will not respond to a specific dietary change. A key part of understanding how individual variability affects the response to dietary change lies in data coming from research on bioactive food components. Nutrigenomics is the field of research that serves as the bridge to understanding individual variability in the responses to bioactive foods that are consumed and the expression of nutrient-responsive genes.

The current expenditure on nutrition research from federal sources in the United States is approximately $1.2 billion per year. Because this amount of money is relatively small in comparison with the research dollars spent in other areas, it is important that they be spent wisely and in a way that will advance nutritional science. This means finding ways to integrate nutritional science with other basic sciences and with preclinical and clinical models. The Women’s Health Initiative was an important step in setting the stage for nutrigenomics research. The science presented in this workshop is furthering that initiative and moving nutrition science forward toward understanding the role of nutrients and bioactive food components in gene expression.



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