Nutritional science is an increasingly prominent aspect of biomedical science as well as public health programs and policies. Nutrition focuses on foods and nutrients - the composition of foods, the determinants and patterns of food consumption, the relation of foods consumed to physiological needs in health and disease, and the fate of the nutrients in biochemical processes. Nutritional science investigates these phenomena on many levels, ranging from biochemical processes at the molecular level to population-level determinants of nutrition in the context of social environments. Nutrition is the quintessential translational science, in which discovery, development, and delivery intersect. Advances in understanding of biochemical processes change management of clinical disease and public health programs; clinical observations drive future research into the mechanisms of pathophysiology and disease progression; and the need for effective public health programs leads to research on behavior modification and the social processes that influence dietary and lifestyle habits.
The NHS program integrates three perspectives on nutrition: biochemical, clinical, and population. The biochemical level considers how nutrients participate in biochemical processes at the molecular level and affect processes such as gene expression. The clinical level is concerned with the impact of nutrition on individuals' metabolism and health, and with the role of nutrition in treating and managing disease. At the population level, nutrition science focuses on epidemiologic studies of diet and health, on the determinants of dietary practices, and on community based interventions to affect nutrition and improve health on a national and international level.
The NHS program is committed to a curriculum and research that addresses important questions about nutrition and human health and the interface between these perspectives.