Cooking Up a Recipe for Healthier Eating

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”  - Chef James Beard

Two studies were conducted from the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) with senior investigator Tonja Nansel, Ph.D., who is seeking explanations for the nutritional choices we make. “The dietary quality of the U.S. population is well below recommended guidelines, and that's the case regardless of income, education, and background," Dr. Nansel says. “Simply put, we're all eating badly."

She and her collaborators decided to conduct a study called Cultivating Healthy Environments in Families (CHEF), in which they tested a nutrition intervention providing education and support for families of kids with type 1 diabetes. 

IRP research is revealing some of the reasons why people make unhealthy food choices. The resulting study, called the Pregnancy Eating Attributes Study (PEAS), took a hard look at the diets of women during pregnancy and in the year after they gave birth, as well as what their children ate during those periods. The goal was to see what characteristics and circumstances made these moms more susceptible to the allure of unhealthy food choices. 

Both studies and a laboratory study have lead to excellent research on how and why people choose the foods they do. And it turns out what you have readily available matters, regardless of your socioeconomic status​. To learn more about the outcome of both studies, view the full article.​​


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Leslie Pont
Program Manager
NIH Wellness Program