Nutrition and Food Studies Research:
Community Nutrition

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What is community nutrition?

Community nutrition encompasses the programs and services targeted towards individuals or groups within a specific geographic area designed to provide access to a healthful diet and prevent disease.

How does Mason approach community nutrition?

The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies focuses on solving nutritional problems in communities through coursework, supervised practice experiences, research, and outreach. The program is designed to provide students a comprehensive background in nutrition so that graduates can translate science and policy into real and meaningful actions to improve the health of individuals and groups in communities. Students have the opportunity to learn outside the traditional classroom—they work with college students to make better food choices and athletes to enhance performance, and they work to improve the health of ethnic minorities and disadvantaged infants, children, and pregnant women in the United States and internationally. Through these experiences, graduates are prepared to transition to community nutrition positions within educational institutions, food industry, government, or global health organizations.

Examples of current and past projects and activities

Courses which include some component of community nutrition at the undergraduate and graduate level:  

  • NUTR 421 - Community Nutrition
  • NUTR 420/620 - Strategies for Nutrition Education
  • NUTR 422/522 - Nutrition throughout the Life Cycle
  • NUTR 583 - Food and Culture
  • NUTR 608 - Perspectives on Food Security
  • NUTR 630 - Global Nutrition
  • NUTR 675 - Nutrition Program Development, Interventions and Assessments

Past and current research projects involving community nutrition:

  • Childhood Health, Exercise & Wellness Program (CHEW): A randomized controlled trial to target early treatment for childhood obesity among Latino children
  • Maternal and infant vitamin D supplementation beliefs and practices of Women, Infant, and Children Clinic (WIC) participants in Northern Virginia
  • Development and use of a tool for the assessment of Loudoun County, Virginia primary care provider's knowledge, attitudes, and practices on infant feeding and supplementation policies
  • Project to promote healthy eating, active living, and obesity prevention among WIC-enrolled mothers and their children in Fairfax County
  • Feeducation Project in McDowell County, West Virginia
  • Breastfeeding knowledge, attitude, and practices among mothers and community health workers in rural Kenya
  • The Mason Undergraduate Nutrition for Campus Health (MUNCH) research project

Teaching students about growing food