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March 2008

F&N Faculty bring “Hot Topics” to 2008 Spring Corporate Affiliates

Low or Inappropriate Dietary Variety Linked with Obesity and Vitamin and Mineral Intake

variety of foods

Consuming a variety of foods from different food groups is one of the basic tenets of eating recommendations put forth by the USDA in MPyramid.  This advice is based on a line of research showing that a more varied diet from the 5 main food groups (fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, milk, and grains) is associated with better micronutrient status and a reduced risk of chronic disease.  However, the current American diet typically consists of high amounts of sugar-laden and fat-laden foods that tend to be low in good-for-you nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.  It is also very low in foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains which are excellent sources of those good-for-you nutrients.


Several recent studies by Dr Megan McCrory in the Department of Foods and Nutrition and her colleagues indicate that the greater the dietary variety from high energy-dense foods such as sweets, snacks, condiments and entrees, the more calories people consume, and the greater amounts of body fat people have. In contrast, consuming a greater variety of low energy dense foods which also tend to be nutrient dense, such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes is linked with having body fat amounts in a lower, healthier range as well as better vitamin and mineral intakes.  Dr McCrory has found these associations to hold true across the lifespan in different study populations including children and adolescents, young and middle-aged adults, and older adults.  These findings collectively suggest two important dietary strategies for preventing excess fat gain with age: 1) reduce the variety of high energy-dense foods in the diet and 2) increase the variety of low energy-dense foods in the diet.  The impact on body weight will be even more powerful if both of these strategies are done together. References:  J Gerontol A Biol Scie Med Scie 2005; 60 (5): 613-21;  Am J Clin Nutr 1999; 69: 440-7.For more information about Dr. McCrory’s research, contact her at mmccror@purdue.edu.


Foods and Nutrition: Student Opportunities Abroad

globe and keyboard

The 2001-2006 Purdue University Strategic Plan included increased collaboration with public and private enterprises in Indiana the United States and abroad as part of its vision. Dr. Carol Boushey is leading the Department of Foods and Nutrition in an initiative to identify compatible international curriculums and to increase international opportunities for students in Foods and Nutrition. Dr. Boushey has identified international programs most compatible with the F&N undergraduate curriculums, developed a dialogue with key potential partner institutions, and evaluated curriculums for incorporating a study abroad experience.

To date, Dr. Boushey has established exchange opportunities at the Dublin Institute of Technology; Curtin University of Technology, Australia; and Caledonian University in Glasgow, Scotland. In addition, she has created opportunities for students to spend spring break taking part in the Culture and Food of France; Maymester in Italy with Dr. Mario Ferruzzi and a summer internship in Nestle, Switzerland.


Dr. Boushey plans to continue to establish more linkages for exchanges, internships, and brief programs. For more information about international student opportunities, contact Dr. Carol Boushey at: boushey@purdue.edu.


Purdue Extension Promotes National Nutrition Month Through Healthy Lifestyle Changes

woman eating National Nutrition Month, held annually in March, is an effort by the American Dietetic Association to combat nutrition myths and to help consumers live healthy lives. This year's theme, "Nutrition: It's a Matter of Fact," focuses on the importance of utilizing factual, research-based information to make informed food choices and develop healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Throughout the month, local Purdue Extension offices worked with community organizations to host health and wellness fairs and food drives, and spread the word about healthy living to children in schools and libraries. "Part of our message is just to make sure people know what foods are best and to remind them that portion control is a major aspect of healthy eating," said Georgia Wagner, Purdue Extension Educator in Wayne County. "Some important aspects of a healthy diet include eating plenty of whole grains and a large range of colorful fruits and vegetables—the brighter and darker the color, the better. "Often, this means planning ahead to have healthy foods available to, rather than running to the local fast food restaurant when it's time to eat," she said.

In addition to eating well, National Nutrition Month also is a time to emphasize physical activity. "Exercise is essential for keeping a well-balanced healthy lifestyle," Wagner said.

For more information about local Purdue Extension activities in honor of National Nutrition Month, contact Laura Palmer at lpalmer@purdue.edu.

Foods & Nutrition Department
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Phone: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674

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