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Nutrition and Food Systems

Improving the health of everyone in this country, across all life stages will require a better understanding of the complex causes and corresponding solutions of diet-related diseases and disparities. The most effective solutions will also address the interrelated challenges across both food and nutrition security and climate change

Importance of Nutrition & Food Systems

According to the 7th edition of the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report, during the next 20 years, the impacts of climate change could potentially intensify risks to food, water, health and energy security. Evidence indicates the increased temperature, drought, rainfall variability, extreme weather and ocean acidification associated with climate change is related to reduced food production, altered nutrient content, inequitable access to healthy foods and beverages, and high rates of food insecurity. Therefore, addressing food and nutrition insecurity is interrelated with challenges and opportunities with our agricultural and food systems. Ensuring sustainable agricultural systems will require a convergence of science and technology to accelerate a transformation of our food system to shorten supply chains, optimize agricultural productivity, minimize negative environmental impacts and ensure a resilient, flexible food system that is safe, affordable and nutritious. 

NIFA’s Impact

NIFA recognizes nutrition as a cost-effective approach to address many of the societal, environmental and economic issues faced across the globe today. NIFA works to ensure a safe, nutritious and secure food supply while also developing, delivering and disseminating evidence-based nutrition education and promotion to prevent chronic diseases, improve health and prioritize nutrition security. NIFA partners with the Land-grant University System and government, private and non-profit organizations to support science. Our agency also invests in developing agricultural scientists across all stages of professional development to use an integrated approach to prioritizing nutrition security and ensuring sustainable agricultural systems through research, education and Extension. NIFA invests more than $160 million in research, education, Extension and innovation to advance USDA’s goal to tackle food and nutrition insecurity; several of our key efforts intersect with addressing climate change and strengthening our food systems. 

Internally, NIFA has priority teams in nutrition security and climate change, and these teams help to foster cross-priority team intersections. NIFA also represents the agency on a variety of departmental and inter-governmental activities. This includes NIFA’s leadership in establishing the US Global Change Research Program, interagency group on Climate Change and Human Health, a Climate Change, Food Systems, and Nutrition Security Workstream This workstream is made up of more than 90 Federal representatives and is focused on addressing key knowledge gaps around strengthening the intersections between climate change, food systems and nutrition security.  
The following NIFA Topic pages further explain our nutrition and food systems efforts (stay tuned a few pages are under development): 

Key NIFA programs aiming to foster stronger intersections between climate, food systems and nutrition security include:

Other relevant programs include:

Learn more by listening to our NIFA Nutrition Security Webinar Series

Consumer Resources is a USDA-sponsored website that offers credible information to help you make healthful eating choices. 

Nutrition Professional Resources - The USDA National Agricultural Library’s Food and Nutrition Information Center provides the food and nutrition professional community access to a wide range of trustworthy food and nutrition resources from both government and non-government sources. Another USDA National Agricultural Library resource is the Historical Dietary Guidance Digital Collection.

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