and Food Science
80th Anniversary of the
Food and Nutrition Board
Proceedings of a Symposium
Ann L. Yaktine, Rapporteur
Food and Nutrition Board
Health and Medicine Division
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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This activity was supported by the Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-68030-1
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-68030-1
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25864
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Copyright 2020 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Advancing nutrition and food science: 80th anniversary of the Food and Nutrition Board: Proceedings of a symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25864.
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FOOD AND NUTRITION BOARD (AS OF FEBRUARY 2020)
SHIRIKI K. KUMANYIKA (Chair), Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
RODOLPHE BARRANGOU, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
JULIE A. CASWELL, University of Massachusetts Amherst
KATHRYN G. DEWEY, University of California, Davis
ROSS A. HAMMOND, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC
ALICE H. LICHTENSTEIN, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
MICHAEL C. LU, University of California, Berkeley
BERNADETTE MARRIOTT, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
ANGELA M. ODOMS-YOUNG, University of Illinois at Chicago
NICOLAAS P. PRONK, HealthPartners, Inc., Minneapolis, MN
A. CATHARINE ROSS, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
SYLVIA B. ROWE, SR Strategy, LLC, Washington, DC
BARBARA O. SCHNEEMAN, University of California, Davis (Emerita)
R. PAUL SINGH, University of California, Davis (Emeritus)
KATHERINE L. TUCKER, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Food and Nutrition Board Staff
ANN L. YAKTINE, Director, Food and Nutrition Board
AMANDA NGUYEN, Associate Program Officer
ZARIA FYFFE, Senior Program Officer
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This Proceedings of a Symposium was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published proceedings as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this proceedings:
PATSY M. BRANNON, Cornell University
JAMES M. NTAMBI, University of Wisconsin–Madison
A. CATHARINE ROSS, The Pennsylvania State University
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the proceedings nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this proceedings was overseen by VIRGINIA A. STALLINGS, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this proceedings was carried out in accordance with standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the rapporteur and the National Academies.
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The Chair and the Director of the Food and Nutrition Board gratefully acknowledge board members Alice H. Lichtenstein, Bernadette P. Marriott, Sylvia B. Rowe, and Barbara O. Schneeman for their significant contributions to the selection of topics and speakers, and for moderating the symposium sessions.
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Boxes and Figures
A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE FOOD AND NUTRITION BOARD
Shiriki Kumanyika, Research Professor, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, and Food and Nutrition Board Chair
I consider the opportunity to serve as the Chair of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) to be both a tremendous honor and a big responsibility. I learned that this feeling is common among Chairs who served before me. Past FNB Chairs were recognized at a reception the evening before this symposium; nearly all of the recent Chairs (1981 or later) were in attendance (see Box P-1). To a person, and although expressed in different ways, the sentiments were that they had admired the FNB and were even in awe of it early in their careers and that they truly valued their Chair service. The reason why the FNB holds such value among those who know of it and have been involved was made clear in opening remarks from Dr. Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences and Chair of the National Research Council, made at a reception held the evening before the symposium for FNB members, former Chairs, volunteers, and staff. Dr. McNutt enthusiastically commended the former FNB members, staff, and friends who were in the audience, because the results of our work were so widely and publicly visible and impactful in essential domains. She also said that what makes the FNB so inspiring is its centrality to the health of human populations in the United States and globally. Food and nutrition are vital to health and the FNB is fundamental for compiling, analyzing, and
interpreting the best available evidence at any given time and translating it into advice to inform research, education, practice, and policy across many sectors as well as to the general public.
I have had many opportunities to be “in the weeds” of FNB work, through consensus study committees, workshop planning committees, a standing committee, a roundtable, and prior service on the board itself from 2000 to 2005. These experiences have given me firsthand familiarity with FNB roles and standards of excellence. My experiences with the FNB and its committees, other components, and events have reinforced the importance of striking a balance between food and nutrition science issues and comprehensive coverage of these issues using basic, clinical, and public health approaches across the spectrum from DNA to whole populations. The FNB exemplifies continuing efforts to be the reliable reference point for trusted information across a spectrum of food and nutrition science issues.
As you read this Proceedings of a Symposium you will see the blend of timeliness and visionary thinking that is characteristic of the FNB. We reviewed where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go, and shared some ideas about how to get there. The perspective was both domestic and global, in keeping with the scope of FNB impact. We were treated to innovative and sometimes provocative thinking from food and nutrition science and policy leaders about new challenges and possible new directions. I recall thinking, at the end of the symposium, that the deliberations and reflections had indeed produced an outstanding nutrition and food science research agenda [which was the intention]. It was a call to action to symposium planners and participants to live up to the implicit and explicit expectations voiced during the day. I extend my deepest thanks to the planning group, presenters, and sponsors for making this happen.
To conclude these prefatory remarks, I offer the following thoughts. The pace of nutrition and food science is or can be rapid, dizzying, or even worrisome due to the rapid pace of technology. Yet, in other respects the pace is insufficient to get ahead of current issues like the obesity epidemic in spite of a large body of work on this issue under FNB auspices. We will face a continuing need to define the boundaries of nutrients and other food substances, and foods themselves that are favorable for growth, development, and good health and well-being. We still need to answer decades-old questions such as how to improve food intake assessments and how to modify eating patterns to align with health recommendations, why achieving and maintaining healthy weight has become so difficult population-wide, and why food and nutrition-related socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities and food insecurity persist in our society. I hope that these proceedings will inspire and motivate current and future generations of nutrition and food scientists and funders to double down on efforts to address these and other issues to accelerate impacts where we most need them.
THE FOOD AND NUTRITION BOARD AT 80: A RETRO-AND PROSPECTIVE FROM THE MIDPOINT–1980
Irwin H. Rosenberg, Jean Mayer University Professor Emeritus, Tufts University, and Food and Nutrition Board Chair, 1981–1983
Having joined the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences committee on international nutrition programs in the 1970s, and having survived the controversy surrounding the FNB report Toward Healthful Diets (see below), I became the Chair of the FNB in 1981. On this occasion of the 80th anniversary of the FNB and as one of its longest serving members and previous board Chairs, I have the privilege of providing some views about the first and second 40 years of the board’s history. (I can in no way approach the extensive history or the incisive remarks presented at the time of the 50th anniversary of the board1 by William J. Darby or Jean Mayer.) I will instead attempt to place the activities of the FNB in the context of the movements and advancements in nutrition science and policy during its first 40 years and subsequent four decades. While the FNB was founded for the purpose of setting nutritional requirements for the American population and in particular for the military, it soon made important statements and contributions to the formulation of food and nutrition policy beyond the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs).
1 IOM (Institute of Medicine). 1992. 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Food and Nutrition Board: Directions in Nutrition and Food Science. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
In the first year of its existence the FNB proposed one way to meet some of those requirements: by vitamin fortification of the nation’s flour supply. This forceful and controversial entry into the arena of translation of nutrition science into policy would continue throughout the life of the FNB in a number of different forms.
Throughout its history the FNB, composed, as it has always been, of leading scientists from the fields of medicine, biochemistry, food science, and from government and industry, has confronted the translation of nutrition science as it informs policy through a growing and changing prism of the definitions of the quality of evidence. This changing perspective is nowhere better observed than in the history of the evidence on which have been based the RDAs, now the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), even to the present time. Arguably, a flexion point in the way in which evidence was brought to bear on policy discussions was the controversial report of the FNB in 1980 titled Toward Healthful Diets, which questioned the appropriateness of using observational evidence on the relationship of blood cholesterol levels in populations to recommendations about the dietary changes for prevention of coronary heart disease. This strong entry into the field of diet and chronic disease by the Board was deepened with the subsequent FNB report titled Diet and Chronic Disease, which also focused on diet and cancer; and the relationship of diet and chronic disease has increasingly occupied the FNB in its formulation of dietary requirements, not only to support health and healthy populations, but more recently in concern with the prevention of chronic disease, increasingly as a basis for judging the quality of evidence on which to base DRIs and its more recent component, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of nutrients.
In another area of importance in translation of nutritional science into policy, it is interesting to note that the first publication of the FNB referring directly to the problem of hunger in the U.S. population occurred after the 60th year of the FNB, in 2011. We can expect that the deliberations of the FNB and its activities beyond the 80th anniversary will make increasing contributions to food, nutrition, and health policy. This anniversary is a great tribute to the hundreds of scientists who have contributed so generously to the pathway by which the FNB has progressed with the times and set the standards for the application of nutrition science to food and nutrition policy. As my predecessor in nutrition at Tufts University, Dr. Jean Mayer, stated in his remarks at the 50th anniversary of the FNB, nutrition is not so much a science alone as it is an agenda for science and health, and the FNB will be at the point of that agenda as it has for 80 years.