Nutrition is an essential aspect of life that affects all people. As nutritional knowledge is advanced, society benefits with more nutritional foods, improved quality of life and access to improved health information. Those people who excel at advancing the science of nutrition may be awarded recognition by prominent nutritional organizations. These top nutrition awards highlight the best and brightest in the field of nutrition.
Nobel Prize for Nutrition
The Nobel Prize is one of the best known awards in the world. In 1949, Lord John Boyd Orr was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research in nutrition and his work as the first Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Orr’s research focused on the diets of animals and humans. His influential work Minerals in Pastures and Their Relation to Animal Nutrition focused on animal nutrition and was published in 1929. Later, he placed a stronger research emphasis on human nutrition, which ultimately led to his report Food, Health and Income which became the basis for the British Food Policy during World War II.
American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) supports excellence in nutrition research and practice. Each year, they award of number of people for their outstanding work in the field of nutrition. In addition to a number of annual awards, the ASN also awards fellowships to people who have had distinguished careers in nutrition. Fellows must be at least sixty-five years of age and have dedicated their careers to the study and advancement of nutrition. In 2012, the ASN awarded fellowships to eight exemplary scientists. Dr. Lindsay Allen, PhD, RD, is currently the Director for the USDA, ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center. Her research centers on the prevalence, causes, consequences and prevention of micronutrient deficiencies. Dr. Stephanie Atkinson, PhD, RD, is a professor at McMaster University. She has focused her research on the nutritional and endocrine regulation of growth processes, with a focus on skeletal development. Dr. Lynne Ausman, PhD, RD, is a professor at Tufts University. Her research has focused on the effects of dietary fats, cholesterol and fiber on coronary artery disease and colon cancer. Dr. Stephen Barnes, PhD, is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research has centered on many topics including the study of cancer-inhibitory dietary factors in men. Dr. Adrianne Bendich, PhD, is the president of Consultants in Consumer Healthcare LLC. She is world-renowned for her expertise on women’s health, calcium and vitamin D in bone health and folic acid during pregnancy. Dr. Werner Bergen, PhD, is a professor at Auburn University. His current research interests include the effects of nutrients on the expression of target genes. Dr. Jere Hass, PhD, is a professor at Cornell University. His research interests have focused on the nutrition problems of women and young children, with an emphasis on iron deficiency in developing countries. Dr. Mohsen Meydani, DVM, PhD, is a professor at Tufts University. His current research focus is the role of dietary antioxidants, lipids and oxidative stress on molecular mechanisms of immune and endothelial cells.
American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
The American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) recognizes outstanding research in the laboratory assessment of nutritional status. The AACC is an international scientific and medical society of clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, and research scientists. The 2012 winner recognized by the AACC was Dr. Ishwarlal Jialal. He has published over 350 research papers on diabetes, atherosclerosis, lipid metabolism, nutrition and vascular biology.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association, is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. In 2012, they provided over $50,000 in awards and grants to twenty-five recipients. Among those awards are the Abbott Nutrition Award and the Elaine Monsen Award. The Abbott Nutrition Award in Women’s Health is awarded to dietitians who make a significant impact on nutrition in women’s health. The 2012 recipient of this award was Dr. Sue A. Shapses, PhD, RD, a professor at Rutgers University. She has focused her research on the nutritional regulation of skeletal tissues and how nutritional intake influences the development of osteoporosis. The Elaine Monsen Award recognizes excellence in research literature in the fields of nutrition, dietetics and food. The 2012 winner of the Elaine Monsen Award was Dr. Carol J. Boushey, PhD, RD, a University of Hawaii professor. In her research, she has used biomarkers of dietary intakes and has been the chief architect of several dietary assessment methods.
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is the largest food science organization in the world, comprised of over 18,000 members. It is a professional organization that supports the advancement of food science and technology. In 1948, the IFT founded the Babcock-Hart award to recognize significant contributions in food technology that have impacted the nutrition of the public. Stephen Babcock led the Golden Age of Nutrition at the beginning of the 20th century with his experiments on heifers, including the Babcock test for milk fat which bears his name. In 2012, Richard M. Black, the Vice President/Chief Nutrition Officer of Kraft Foods Global was recognized for his leadership and efforts in addressing public health and wellness, including the rising obesity rates.
Organizations and groups around the world serve to support nutrition professionals that work to improve nutrition and public health around the world. These organizations award those professionals that have made the strongest impact on the field of nutrition. These awards provide not only recognition of excellence, but can also provide monetary compensation to further the recipient’s research. Future nutritionists will be challenged to advocate for a healthy diet in the ever-increasing presence of highly processed, nutritionally deficient foods. The combination of rising obesity and diabetes rates makes proper nutrition more essential ever. As people continue to face dietary challenges, nutritionists and nutrition scientists will continue to have a great impact on the daily living and health of people around the world.