The new nutrition science project

Public Health Nutr. 2005 Sep;8(6A):673-94. doi: 10.1079/phn2005819.


Objective: To show that nutrition science, with its application to food and nutrition policy, now needs a new conceptual framework. This will incorporate nutrition in its current definition as principally a biological science, now including nutritional aspects of genomics. It will also create new governing and guiding principles; specify a new definition; and add social and environmental dimensions and domains.

Method: A narrative review of nutrition science, its successes and achievements, and its dilemmas, paradoxes, shortcomings, dissonances and challenges. Reference is made to 16 associated papers. Equal use is made of continuous text and of boxed texts that extend the review and give salient examples.

Results: Recent and current interrelated electronic and genomic discoveries and linked sequential demographic, nutritional and epidemiological shifts, in the context of associated and interlinked global social, cultural, environmental, economic, political and other developments, altogether amount to a world in revolution, requiring all disciplines including that of nutrition science to make comparably radical responses.

Conclusion: Nutrition in principle and practice should be a biological and also an environmental and social science. This new broad integrated structure brings much recent and current progressive work into the centre of nutrition science, and in some ways is a renewal of the period when nutrition science had its greatest impact. It amounts to a map charting well-known and also new worlds. The new nutrition science is concerned with personal and population health, and also with planetary health--the welfare and future of the whole physical and living world of which humans are a part. In this way the discipline will make a greater contribution to the preservation, maintenance, development and sustenance of life on Earth, appropriate for the twenty-first century.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Science Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Health*
  • Genomics
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Public Health*