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About The Children's Nutrition Research Center

The Children's Nutrition Research Center

The Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) 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.

Operated by Baylor College of Medicine in cooperation with Texas Children's Hospital and the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA/ARS), the CNRC's 11-story research facility houses a large live-in metabolic unit, an energy metabolism laboratory, stable isotope and substrate analytical laboratories, a body composition laboratory, an eating behavior observation laboratory, and a plant physiology laboratory. These unique facilities enable the center's 55 full-time faculty members to develop multidisciplinary research programs that help improve the nutritional guidelines used by physicians, parents and others responsible for the care and feeding of children.

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.

For more information about the Children's Nutrition Research Center follow the links below.