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NIFA Invests Over $9.5M for Food, Nutrition, and Human Health Promotion

Scientist looks at food genetic sequence on laptop. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Scientist looks at food genetic sequence on laptop. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 9, 2021  – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently awarded $5.82 million for 13 grants to enhance food and human health; and $3.72 million for seven grants to improve healthy eating habits that support the prevention of chronic disease. These grants are awarded through the USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
“Health, and the role food plays in our overall well-being, is one of our nation’s leading issues,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “Proper nutrition is the key to solving a range of problems from curbing chronic disease, student achievement, worker productivity, and economic development – whether in rural or urban America. This investment in critical research will have widespread impact on the future health of the population.”
Through the Food and Human Health grant projects, scientists will examine the effects of vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive components found in whole food on the gut microbiome to assess the safety, quality, and nutritional value of those foods. NIFA’s awards for Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases research support projects that enable better food and nutrition choices.
Examples of projects from the 13 Food and Human Health awards: San Diego State University’s project, “An Investigation of the Impacts of Fruit on the Gut Microbiota and its Metabolites: Connections to Human Health,” will identify and develop safe and effective nutritional intervention strategies that can help improve vascular and cardio function, cognition, and motor control. University of Missouri’s project, “Effects of Maternal Soybean Diet and Early Life Gut Microbial Development of Long-term Health Consequences of the Progenies,” will research novel preventive strategies of soy in children that can lead to improved health later in life.
Examples of projects from the seven Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases awards: California State University’s project, “Eat, Play, Go! Health Families in Long Beach” will explore ways to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Latino youth ages 10-13 years by implementing an innovative program to improve eating patterns and healthy lifestyles. Cornell University’s project, “The Advanced Cooking Education (ACE) Urban 4-H After-School Club: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial” will focus on improving chronic disease risk factors among culturally diverse 8th grade students from New York City Title I middle schools.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.
Visit our website:; Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science (searchable by state or keyword), visit
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