National nutrition guidance is on track to become much more individualized, thanks to research that will soon begin at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University, as part of a five-year national effort supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Designated this week by the NIH as one of six Clinical Centers in the country for the initiative, the HNRCA will receive $8.23 million to participate in an innovative study to develop algorithms to predict individual responses to food and dietary patterns. The funding will support the NIH Common Fund’s Nutrition for Precision Health (NPH), powered by All of Us Research Program to improve the understanding of nutrition and inform more personalized nutrition recommendations.
The goal of this large national research initiative is to combine the many factors that affect how individuals respond to diet into a personalized nutrition regimen. These potential factors include dietary intake, microbiome—the community of bacteria that live in our gut—metabolism, nutritional status, genetics, and the environment.
“Food drives health, and the NIH and USDA recognize that nutrition is very critical to achieving a healthy lifespan,” said HNRCA Center Director Sarah Booth. “This initiative is the culmination of what the HNRCA has been working toward for 40 years. Receiving this grant is very gratifying and validates the contributions the HNRCA and Tufts has made to the field of nutrition.”
The HNRCA will collect data from a cohort of 2,000 people from the All of Us Research Program—an initiative with a goal of building a diverse health database from one million people across the United States—with All of Us program partners Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center. The collaboration of Boston health care institutions led by Tufts will be formally known as the Clinical Center for NIH's Nutrition for Precision Health: The All of Us New England Research Collaborative.