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Children's Nutrition Research Center

Houston, Texas

Children's Nutrition Research Center - CNRC
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center
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About The Children's Nutrition Research Center

CNRC BuildingThe Children's Nutrition Research Center is one of six federally funded human nutrition research centers in the nation and the first to conduct scientific investigations into the role of maternal, infant and child nutrition in optimal health, development, and growth.

Since its establishment in 1978, over 8,500 volunteers have participated in Center studies. Center research has generated more than 1,700 scientific publications and continues to provide valuable information for improving the nutritional health of today's children and that of future generations.

CNRC research programs are designed to:

  • Determine the role of nutrition and specific nutrients in optimal prenatal development, including which nutrients consumed by a mother near the time of conception, and during pregnancy and lactation, positively affect infant health and the course of human development.
  • Investigate nutrient-gene interactions to determine both how gene expression is regulated by dietary nutrients and how differences in genotype affect the absorption and utilization of common nutrients by individuals.
  • Identify the specific nutritional factors necessary for optimal health, growth, and development of newborn term and pre-term infants and children of all ages.
  • Identify regulatory controls of body weight and body composition during infancy and childhood, and metabolic and behavioral factors that regulate energy intake, energy expenditure, appetite, and satiety.
  • Identify childhood dietary habits that contribute to long-term health and the prevention of diet-related chronic diseases in adulthood, including osteoporosis, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
  • Investigate the biochemical regulation of phytonutrients in plant foods, the importance of specific phytonutrients in optimal childhood growth and development, and the bioavailability of minerals, such as iron, zinc and calcium, from plant sources.

Our unique combination of pediatricians and pediatric sub-specialists, nutrition scientists, plant physiologists, and registered dietitians make the CNRC an ideal resource for media seeking expert insight into a wide range of maternal, pediatric and general nutrition issues.

Dr. Bier video still shot

CNRC turns 30: Since 1978, findings from the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center has been defining the nutrient needs of children, from conception through the teen years, and the needs of pregnant women and nursing mothers. Read about the center's 30th anniversary celebration and hear from Dr. Dennis Bier, center director, who talks about the center's evolving focus from the early days.

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