Welcome to our Spring Issue!
We have all been struck by how many lingering chronic illnesses and wasting diseases result in undernutrition. Yet until recently there has been little consensus on what the criteria were for determining its presence. Thus, we welcome the thoughtful article by our Editorial Board member Gordon Jensen MD, PhD (who is also a past President of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) and Tommy Cedorol MD PhD of Sweden on the diagnosis of malnutrition in clinical settings, entitled “Breakthrough in Global Consensus for the Diagnosis of Malnutrition in Adults in Clinical Settings.” It focuses particularly on the hospitalized patient but is also applicable in outpatient settings. Their article is a review of a much longer paper that appeared earlier this year on the same topic in several society journals. Those who work in acute care settings will want to read the Nutrition Today piece on the consensus definition, take the CE test, and then go on to the longer article for more details. Thanks Gordon for a nice summary!
On the other end of the malnutrition spectrum is obesity, an all too common disorder in the US and increasingly globally. Kevin Metcalf MS RD does a nice job of summarizing the associations between obesity and health in his article, “Can Obesity and Health Coexist?”. He concludes that while the risk factors may be there, clinically apparent disease may lag behind, giving people false assurance that all is well when it isn’t.
Next we turn to public health. The USDA’s National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are among the most important in-kind nutritional benefits available to our nation’s children. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 reauthorized them, and at the same time made major improvements in their nutritional profiles to bring them up to date with the food and nutritional science as we know it today. Colin Schwartz and Dr. Margo Wootan do a nice job describing their work and that of others in lobbying for these changes. The strategic thinking and action steps that went into their successful campaign provides an excellent blueprint and how-to manual for those who have other nutrition policies and programs that deserve funding from the public purse. Food policy advocates will especially enjoy this piece!
Everyone is probably aware of the changes that are occurring in many states in the regulation of cannabis (marijuana). What is not so apparent is that some of the legislation about it also may open the door to its use or the use of compounds in it in various foods and dietary supplements, and many in the nutrition field are unaware of that. This article, “Cannabis in Society Today”, is one in a three-part series on the topic by Dr. Peter Pressman and our Nutrition Today contributing editor, Dr. Roger Clemens. It is designed to bring nutrition scientists up to date on these developments and why there is reason for caution.
Communications about risks in our food supply are often off the mark, with great emphasis being placed on avoiding gluten and lactose containing foods, GMOs, non-organic foods, and the like, while many unfriendly organisms that spread food borne disease are overlooked. Our columnists Sylvia Rowe and Nick Alexander examine recent communications about food risks in their column, “Communicating about Risk in a Food Obsessed World—Reprised.” It’s important to get priorities for concern better aligned with the actual risks, and our authors suggest some ways you can help to do this.
Lastly, we have an interesting review and study on the effects of mood on food intake. This article, led by Leila Jampour and an Iranian group of investigators, is entitled, “Effects of Mood Induction Using Movie Watching on Food Intake and Hormone Levels.”
Best wishes for a pleasant Spring.
Johanna Dwyer DSc,RD
Editor, Nutrition Today