controversial topics in nutrition

The fifth and final discussion is a project about controversial topics in nutrition.

Each of you will pick out a topic (first-come, first serve) from below and provide a one page summary of the problem and possible solutions to the controversial topic.

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1. Nutrition in Schools ( I CHOSE THIS)

2. Global Breastfeeding Collective

3. Nutrition and HIV/AIDS

4. Food Security in Impoverished Nations

5. Controlling the Global Obesity Crisis

6. Feto-maternal Nutrition and Low Birth Weight

7. Food Safety

8. Your Choice of Topic

To achieve full credit for this discussion post, you must:

1. Choose a topic that has not yet been posted.

2. Research and write at least a one page summary about the controversy and possible solutions to the topic.

3. Cite your sources and respond to another student.

Here is an example:

Topic: Evidence-Informed Nutrition Guidelines

As obesity rates climb in the United States, the “weight loss and obesity management market is set to be worth US $253 billion by 2024” (Hernandez, 2018). Many weight loss programs and apps promise to help you lose weight or keep from gaining weight, but how many of these programs adhere to evidence based nutrition guidelines? Because technological advances have now allowed for the high prevalence of smartphones, people are now using apps to try and lose weight. A study conducted by Breton, et al. looked at 204 apps that were related to weight loss and management and reviewed the apps in terms of 13 evidence-informed practices common to governmental agencies. The thirteen evidence-informed practices are listed below:

(1) assess one’s weight (scored on whether the app provided a means of calculating one’s body mass index with an interpretation of what that means)

(2) eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (scored on whether the app recommended a certain number of daily servings fruits and vegetables or allowed users to track their number of servings each day)

(3) perform regular physical activity (scored on whether the app recommended a certain amount of physical each day per week)

(4) drink water instead of juice or soda (scored on whether the app recommended a certain number of daily serving of water or allowed users to track their daily servings of water)

(5) keep a food diary (scored on whether the app allowed users to track the daily food consumption)

(6) maintain calorie balance of in vs. out (scored on whether the app allowed for users to calculate the number of calorie needed in order to meet desired weight loss/maintenance goals given one’s activity level)

(7) weight loss of 1 to 2 lb a week (scored on whether the app recommended weight loss goals of 1 to 2 lb/week)

(8) portion control (scored on whether the app described or illustrated portions sizes or let users look up nutritional information according to portion size)

(9) read nutrition labels (scored on whether the app recommended reading labels, described how to properly read labels, or let users look up nutritional information for food items)

(10) track your weight (scored on whether the app provided a means to track weight over time)

(11) keep a physical activity journal (scored on whether an app provided a means to track daily physical activity)

(12) plan meals (scored on whether the app recommended users plan their meals, had a tool for menu planning, or a way to search recipes)

(13) seek social support (scored on whether the app allowed users access to social support components like message boards, chat rooms, email an expert, or a networking component like Twitter).

The results showed that 6% of the apps did not have any of the thirteen practices and no app had all thirteen practices. In fact, some of the apps offered unconventional strategies, like the use of colors or sounds as an appetite suppressant and the vibrate function on a phone to break up fat cells. Judging from the results of this data, it would seem that the weight loss app community is not using evidence-informed nutrition guidelines.

To counteract the lack of evidence-informed nutrition information, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established the Guidelines Review Committee (GRC) to make sure all of their nutrition guidelines are based on evidence. In addition, the WHO has partnered with the Department of Nutrition and Health Development (NHD) to strengthen the evidence base on safe nutrition actions, which is necessary to counteract the burden of malnutrition. A study of the implementation of the GRC guidelines showed that they are of good quality but implementation still requires improvement (Deidos, 2017).

As obesity rates continue to climb, weight loss programs will most likely increase in popularity, but these programs should be evidence based to avoid malnutrition and harm to the individuals.

Hernandez, J (2018). Weight Loss and Obesity Management Market is Worth US$ Billion by 2024. Herald Keeper. Retrieved from

Breton, et al. (2011). Weigh loss-there is a app for tha! But does it adhere to evidence informed practices? Translational Behavioral Medicine. 1(3), 523-529. doi: 10.1007/s13142-011-0076-5.

Diedos, Maria Cecilia et al. (2017). Improving the adaptability of WHO evidence-informed guidelines for nutrition actions: results of a mixed methods evaluation. Implementation Science. 12:39.

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