Mission and Goals of the Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences
The mission of the Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (GPN) is to promote and develop leaders in nutrition. The GPN provides leadership and a central focus for nutrition research and education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It enhances the quality and breadth of nutrition by integrating resources and expertise across department and colleges. The GPN responds to new needs and seeks out new funding sources. It gives clear visibility to Penn State and its contributions in this area. The research and teaching program encompasses many areas of nutrition, as applied to humans and other animals.
The GPN has been fortunate to bring together individuals from various units to address extremely broad and complicated issues in nutrition. Some of the capabilities of the interdisciplinary approach of the GPN include:
- increasing knowledge of requirements for nutrients necessary for optimal growth and well-being, including the interactions among nutrients, the environment and disease;
- improving methods for assessing nutrient intakes and nutritional status;
- determining the impact of food, phytochemical and nutrient intakes as well as dietary patterns on health promotion and disease prevention;
- increasing knowledge of factors affecting food preferences, dietary intake patterns and health habits plus developing various intervention strategies and evaluating their nutritional impact at the individual and population level;
- improving techniques and behavioral strategies to guide consumers in selecting health-promoting foods and nutritionally adequate diets;
- increasing knowledge of the mechanisms of metabolic regulation in humans and other animals, including cellular, molecular and physiological aspects; and
- training the next generation of scientists and clinicians in childhood obesity prevention.