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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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The Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center located in eastern North Dakota is staffed by 15 senior scientists and 82 support personnel. It is one of six Human Nutrition Centers operated by the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Grand Forks Center is part of the Northern Plains Area of ARS.

The Center’s innovative research and achievements have:

  • saved US confectionary sunflower industry from exclusion from EU markets based on cadmium content, which its research found was not absorbed;
  • found that consuming beef promotes calcium utilization for preventing osteoporosis, refuting erroneous belief about risks of eating beef;
  • found that consuming beans reduces cholesterol;
  • addressed diet and physical activity to prevent bone loss associated with weight reduction;
  • originated “Dakota Diet” concept - interpreting Dietary Guidelines for Americans with emphasis on regionally produced foods;
  • originated “Model Healthy Community” concept - multi-sector efforts to prevent obesity/co-morbidities;
  • originated and coordinates the only ARS internship program for Native American students.

The Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center has been a world leader in nutrition research for more than 30 years. The current foundation of our research is:

  • Obesity Prevention
  • Health Roles of Food
  • Bone Health.

The Center has numerous partnerships with universities, other government agencies as well as commodity groups. A current collaboration with the U. S. Army Institute for Research in Environmental Medicine is pioneering research on sustaining muscle and bone during periods of negative caloric balance. The Center also has partnerships with Native American communities and tribal colleges to address obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression in high-need, under-served communities.

The 92,000-square-foot building contains state-of-the-art facilities for research with humans and animals, multiple chemical and biochemical laboratories. It has an annual appropriated budget of $10.5 million.

The mission of the ARS National Program in Human Nutrition is to conduct basic and applied research to identify and understand how nutrients and other bio-active food components affect health; the ultimate goal of this food-based agricultural research is to identify foods and diets, coupled with genetics and physical activity, that sustain and promote health throughout the life cycle.


Last Modified: 10/25/2010