The criteria and guiding concepts to be applied in the
academic training of human nutrition have been identified in a recent study published in Frontiers in Nutrition.
This is the first attempt to more
clearly define the cultural identity of human nutrition in both an
academic and professional orientated perspective. In total, three
domains of human nutrition were identified: Basic Nutrition, Applied
Nutrition, and Clinical Nutrition.
‘In total, three domains of human nutrition - Basic Nutrition, Applied Nutrition, and Clinical Nutrition - were identified by researchers.’
"Take obesity as an example, it is still frequently not recognized
as a disease state, the issue of undernutrition in elderly and obese
individuals is therefore largely overlooked," says Muscaritoli.
The scientists argue that the biological significance of food in the
collective imagination has been lost in favor of its hedonistic
aspects. People only look at nutrients as a number, but not as something
with nutritional value. They do not consider the food matrix nor
Basic Nutrition is the discipline that deals with the scientific
basis of human nutrition. This domain studies and characterizes the
presence, bioavailability, mechanisms, and biochemical-physiological
roles of nutrients and bioactive molecules.
Applied Nutrition, on the other hand, deals with the relationship
between nutrition and the health and well-being of a population. This
domain, for example, concentrates on improving the nutritional qualities
of foods and envisions guidelines for healthy eating.
Lastly, the domain of Clinical Nutrition focuses on assessing, preventing, diagnosing, and treating malnutrition.
"The three domains have their own cultural and scientific identity
corresponding to specific professional skills, but they should all be
integrated in the academic training," says Muscaritoli. To that extent,
the team identified the subject matter to be covered in such a nutrition
With this set of criteria and guiding concepts, the scientists make a
first attempt to improve the academic training in human nutrition.
"We hope this will lead to a better integration of the available
knowledge on human nutrition in the daily practice of healthcare
professionals - and turn the tide of the current cultural confusion of
the nutritional scenario," explains Muscaritoli, who is also Specialty
Chief Editor of Clinical Nutrition, in Frontiers in Nutrition