Nutrition et société

Theme 6
NUTRITION AND SOCIETY


Our food choices are central to our day-to-day decisions influenced by everything happening in our society. The study of physical, economic, political, and socio-cultural factors is essential in order to better understand the issues that need to be a priority and thereby help create enabling environments for quality food for all.


Description


Our food choices are central to our day-to-day decisions influenced by everything happening in our society. The study of physical, economic, political and socio-cultural factors is essential in order to better understand the issues that need to be a priority and thereby help create enabling environments to quality food for all, particularly for vulnerable groups.

The important roles that information and communication about our food supply play in our daily lives are also proving to be a crucial area of research, both to foster effective knowledge mobilization and to support the adoption of healthy and sustainable eating habits.

 


SUB-THEMES


Literacy, Communication and Knowledge Mobilization

The level of food literacy includes various pieces of knowledge, competencies, and behaviours enabling people to cope with a complex food environment. The media environment, in turn, influences the attitudes, beliefs, and values of a community or society, with communication going beyond the simple transmission of information. The mobilization of research knowledge thus contributes to the quality of information disseminated to the public.

INAF researchers that are interested in these issues carry out projects among the general population, but also in more vulnerable groups, in order to support informed decision-making for nutrition.

Values, Traditions and Food Cultures

In addition to feeding us, foods allow eaters to affirm their culture, identity, values as well as traditions surrounding the act of eating. A different vision of health and a political position can even be expressed through the adoption of a certain posture with respect to foods or the sources of supply used to get them.

INAF researchers adopt in this context a broad view of the food supply by carrying out research projects for a better understanding of what drives today’s and tomorrow’s eaters.

Nutritional Epidemiology and Population Health

Nutritional epidemiology is the science focusing on the links between nutritional determinants and health problems influencing the prevalence, evolution, and distribution of these problems within the population.

The NutriQuébec project is a good example of a cohort study initiated by INAF researchers, including thousands of Quebecers. It aims at collecting information on nutrition and health over a long period of time. Other researchers in nutritional epidemiology are interested in population groups having specific issues of concern, such as pregnant women or people suffering from cardiometabolic diseases.

 

Societal Determinants of the Sustainable Food Supply

Diet beyond its influence on health plays an important role in the collective issues we face, like social inequalities in health, transformations and developments in medicine, as well as climate change. People’s environments and living conditions vary from one person to another, which is influencing everyone’s opportunities and behaviours differently.

In order to better understand these issues, INAF researchers are interested in, for example, structural constraints and natural or built environments limiting access to healthy foods, as well as agri-food innovations and initiatives that support the sustainable food supply.


AREAS OF EXPERTISE AND CHAIRS


Areas of Expertise

  • Anthropology and sociology
  • Communication and knowledge transfer strategies
  • Nutrition in public health and population health
  • Ethics, diversity, and inclusion
  • Indigenous knowledge

Research chairs

Canada Research Chair in Medical Humanities and History of Biological Thought

Holder: Pierre-Olivier Méthot
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Our scientific program revolves around six major unifying themes.