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Introduction and Rationale | Vision and Objectives | Organization, Programs, and Leadership | Physical Facilities, Future Plans, and Funding Opportunites

Introduction and Rationale

Human Nutrition is one of the most important scientific fields in medicine. Most chronic diseases and the process of aging are the result of the aberrant expression of multiple genes often determined by diet and lifestyle.

The impact of nutrition has been clearly demonstrated in conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and many common forms of cancer. For example, the Tarahumaras in Northern Mexico live as they did thousands of years ago, washing their clothes in a stream, eating a low-fat diet, and maintaining a good level of physical activity. While they have a high incidence of infectious diseases, they do not have diabetes or hypertension. On the other hand, their blood relatives living on a reservation in Southern Arizona suffered a drought in the early 1900s; as a result, today they eat a high-fat Westernized diet, live a less active lifestyle, and have an 80% incidence of diabetes and hypertension. While the genetic factor is constant, the disease expression is related to diet and lifestyle.

Moreover, there is a well-known international variation in some types of cancer, including that of the prostate and breast. Countries, such as Japan or Thailand, where a low-fat diet is eaten have about one-fifth the prostate and breast cancer rates as compared with those individuals of the same age living in the United States. However, within a generation of moving to America, Asians have the same incidence of breast and prostate cancer as multigenerational Americans.

In fact, within Japan the rates of prostate and breast cancer have been increasing over the past 20 years with the introduction of American fast foods and lifestyle, resulting in an elevated incidence of obesity from 5% to 20%. In many countries throughout the world, there is an epidemic of obesity as malnutrition is conquered.

Human genes date back at least 50,000 years, evolving at a time of food scarcity but great biodiversity. The medicine men and women of ancient times had great knowledge of the use of herbs and natural medicinals for treating disease. Today, both the biodiversity of the diet and the knowledge of how to use naturally occurring chemicals in plants (phytochemistry) to treat and prevent disease have been "lost." Yet, it is known that increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, and cereals, as well as expanding the diversity of these foods, will lead to improved health; such diets are low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in the micronutrients such as vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other healthy plant-derived substances.

By bringing human genes into equilibrium with the human internal environment, the impact on the incidence of chronic diseases and on longevity could be astounding. Much research remains to realize this vision, however.

Introduction and Rationale
Vision and Objectives
Organization, Programs and Leadership

Physical Facilities, Future Plans, and Funding Opportunites







Nutrition 101 - Natural Remedies - Weight Management - Physician Education
Vitamins & Minerals - Nutrition & Aging - Nutrition & Disease - Research