Article Content

SARS Report From Taiwan

Editorial board member Leh Chi Chwang, DrPH, has firsthand knowledge of the SARS epidemic and its effect on the dietitians and nutritionists in Taiwan. Some comments from her report to us: "Dietitians in the inpatient and outpatient departments of hospitals in Taiwan have to wear masks. They must serve isolation meals with disposable trays to patients and medical and nursing staff on the isolation wards, and all wastes from them must be treated in a way that protects others. All the dietary staff must wear surgical masks in the hospital, and they must also check their own temperatures twice per day." She states that it was quite an experience translating the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines into dietetic practice in the real world of SARS in Taipei, but she is surviving!


Food Data Conference Resounding Success!

The 5th International Food Data Conference and 27th US National Nutrient Databank Conference hosted 300 delegates in Washington, DC, in June. The Conference Chair was Joanne Holden, MS, of the Nutrient Data Lab, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Beltsville, Md, and Co-Chairs were Dr Jean Pennington of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Dr Phyllis Stumbo of the University of Iowa. Sessions included new information for culturally specific foods and nutrient variability and bioavailability. Nearly a full day was devoted to new data for food composition tables. Progress in local and specialized regional databases and in software was also reviewed.


Dr Barbara Burlingame, an American nutrition scientist at FAO in Rome spoke on her vision for the future, "Fostering Quality Data in Food Composition Databases." Food composition data are currently being used in ways that were not well anticipated several years ago. Consequently, some of our criteria of quality of both data and of databases, must be reexamined, expanded, and even occasionally contracted. Among the key criteria for reassessment for the future vision are the concepts of "representativeness," completeness, and a harmonized approach. The explosive issues related to these concepts are food biotechnology and biodiversity, climate change and other environmental phenomena, risk assessment, trade and regulatory requirements, and evidence for diet/disease relationships.


Dr Gail Harrison of UCLA, Los Angles, Calif, provided a second keynote on Applications and Implications for public health.


Her talk addressed the critical nature of food composition data to public health research, especially concerning understanding and addressing problems of malnutrition and monitoring rapidly changing dietary patterns and patterns of nutrition-related disease. The limiting factor in building high-quality databases is no longer technological but resides with the prohibitive cost of ensuring the accuracy of the data for many countries. Nutrient databases are being built by combining local and regional data with information from other countries with larger laboratory infrastructures, with assumptions about the similarity of local products and modification of the imported data when information about local differences is sufficient.


Evaluation of the efficacy and effectiveness of programs to improve nutritional status and provide safety nets for nutrition and food security depends on the ability to assess dietary quality, which, in turn, depends on the ability to convert data on food use or consumption into nutrient terms. Advancing research in understanding diet/disease relationships increasingly drives agendas in food composition analyses, particularly with respect to nonnutrient bioactive components of foods and composite indices, such as the glycemic index and total antioxidant activity. Public access to food composition data through Web sites and even with hand-held computing and communication devices is a new public health tool for health promotion and education activities in some countries. Perhaps most important, the public health policy formation process everywhere requires the ability to ask "what-if?" questions and model the potential outcomes.


Joseph Carlin Wins 2003 Medallion Award

The ADA's Medallion Awards, which have been awarded annually since 1976, honor individuals who have shown dedication to the high standards of the dietetics profession through active participation, leadership, and devotion to serving others in dietetics and allied health fields. Joseph Carlin easily meets these criteria. He will be honored at the ADA Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo this fall at a special honors breakfast.


IFT Names Two 2003 Congressional Food Science Award Winners

Congressman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma was selected for his Agricultural Bioterorism Countermeasures Act, which supports establishing science-based countermeasures to address terrorist threats against the food supply. Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey was honored for his involvement in the Food Biotechnology Information Initiative Act. Congratulations to both Congressmen.


Work Begins to Update Report on Role of Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity in the Causation and Treatment of Cancer

A panel of the world's leading cancer experts met in London on May 13 to begin the process of revising the 1997 Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective report prepared by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF International). The 1997 report focused on the diet-cancer link and promulgated the tenet that simple lifestyle choices could prevent 30% to 40% of cancer cases worldwide. The new report is scheduled to appear in 2006.


(American Institute for Cancer Research, May 12, 2003)


Irradiated Ground Beef OK in School Food Lunch Program

As of January 2004, individual school districts will be allowed to purchase irradiated ground beef. Specifications for the use of irradiated meat in the National School Lunch program were released in May. The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service will provide all school districts with a package that includes a brochure with commonly asked questions about irradiation. The districts are free to decide if they want to use the meat.


(National Academies, May 29, 2003)


HHS and NCI Focus Campaign on Dietary Risks in African American Men

The US Department of Health and Human services and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to promote the 9-A-Day Campaign, which will encourage black males to eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. African American men are at a much higher risk of chronic disease than their Caucasian counterparts. They have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, and many cancers and have higher mortality rates from heart disease and obesity than other ethnic groups. However, they consume only 3.1 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The campaign will include national radio advertisements, a Web page for African American men (, and a brochure about the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables. NCI recommends eating several colorful fruits and vegetables to obtain the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals needed to reduce disease risk.


(Department of Health and Human Services, April 24, 2003)


Congratulations to Kathy Cappellano

Kathy Cappellano, one of Nutrition Today's contributing editors, gave birth to Deanne Stephanie Federico on June 17, 2003. Both mother and daughter are doing well.



September 22-24, 2003. The Emerging Technologies & Healthcare Innovations Congress. Washington, DC. For more information, visit or call 800-640-2218.


October 9-10, 2003. Bridging the Gap with Education: Diabetes Symposium and Workshop. Charleston, WV. For more information, visit or e-mail [email protected].


October 25-28, 2003. American Dietetic Association's 2003 Food and Nutrition Conference. San Antonio, Tex. For more information, visit


February 9-12, 2004. Nutrition Week: A.S.P.E.N.'s 28th Clinical Congress, Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit


September 19-24, 2005. 18th International Congress of Nutrition. Durban, South Africa. For more information, visit conferences/18icn/18inc-2005. htm or e-mail [email protected].



Figure. Joseph Carli... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Joseph Carlin