The anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.” Diet is often one of the last changes new immigrants make when assimilating into a new population. Food choices are not usually determined because of their nutrient and health attributes; most often individuals make food choices due an array of other factors including culture, cost, availability, accessibility, taste, religion, aesthetics, processing, and social influences, and the list goes on.
However, it is a fact that food choice and intake do affect health and well-being. Thus, to improve healthy eating choices among individuals, communities, and populations, it is critical to understand the complexities influencing and affecting food choice and consumption.
The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University is well-prepared to take on such complex nutrition-related challenges. We have a multidisciplinary team of faculty who come from a variety of backgrounds including biochemistry, food science, foodways and food systems, public health, anthropology, epidemiology, culinary arts, and clinical nutrition. Our faculty collaborate with disciplines such as computer science, education, nursing, social work, and political science to explore the causes and develop relevant means of intervention to improve nutrition and health in individuals, communities, and populations. This diverse group brings together a complementary set of skills, backgrounds, and research interests to provide enriching and exciting educational experiences for our students.
Our MS in nutrition—the only one of its kind in Virginia—combines nutrition sciences with an understanding of food, food systems, foodways, and the culinary arts to prepare our students to tackle the most pressing nutrition issues. Our academic programs train students to engage in nutrition and food-related planning, practice, and research. Our courses are designed to provide an enriched learning experience by utilizing a diverse mix of strategies—whether it is in understanding the science that informs food and nutrition-related recommendations, in food preparation activities, or in supporting nutrition-related behavior and policy changes.
I encourage you learn more about our different programs, degrees, and certificates at the undergraduate and graduate level by attending one of our information sessions or browsing through our website.
I hope that you are inspired to join us as we tackle some of the most complex nutrition and food related challenges here in Virginia and globally. I look forward to you visiting us soon!
Lisa Pawloski, PhD
Chair, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies