"Leveraging sensory nutrition to promoting healthy eating for individuals and populations"
The taste of foods and beverages is the primary driver of what people like and chose to consume. Taste is a composition sensation of true taste, smell, and somatosensation (touch, temperature, and pain). We know that the taste of foods and beverages varies with complex interactions between genetics, the environment, aging, and the internal physiological state of the individual. Importantly, taste and smell alterations were a primary symptom of SARS-CoV-2, with negative influence on diet quality and quality of life.
Sensory nutrition involves how variation in taste influences dietary differences and chronic disease risk. However, most of the research on sensory nutrition has been derived from careful observational studies or clinical research centers with less research on its translation to health promotion and population health.
This talk provides a brief background on taste and smell related to sensory nutrition. Then will be a presentation of feasible methods of translating sensory nutrition in tailored nutrition education and interventions for children and adults. Next, the talk will cover taste and smell in the national health surveillance to drive public health goals and approaches. Finally, opportunities will be presented to advance sensory nutrition and nutritional science for achieving healthier diets.
Dr. Valerie Duffy is a Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Health Promotion Sciences in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. She offers a wealth of experience in food, nutrition, health promotion, and public health nutrition. Her research program has two main areas fueled by extramural funding. First, her team aims to understand sensory nutrition or the influence of variation in chemosensory perception on food flavor, food preference, and consumption. Recently, her team has translated sensory nutrition into individualized dietary recommendations for children and adults through online survey and tailored nutrition messages. The ultimate goal is to leverage sensory nutrition to encourage consumption of healthy diets that are enjoyable for promotion of health and prevention of disease. Her second major area of research interest involves the formation of interdisciplinary teams to work with community agencies to promote health diets and weights of children and their families, particularly those of economic disadvantage. These efforts incorporate undergraduate and graduate student research and investigate the effectiveness of community-based interventions, mhealth, and social media to improve diet healthiness for obesity prevention. Dr. Duffy and her students have published numerous papers and have presented at national and international meetings. She has received several awards for excellence in teaching, research, and service. Students who have trained in her lab are advancing health promotion through research, practice, and leadership. She has served as major advisor to complete fifty-eight Master's students, five PhD students, and numerous undergraduates completing research experiences and honor thesis. Dr. Duffy teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels and currently mentors students at the undergraduate honors (including McNair Scholars), masters (Plan A and B), and doctoral levels.