Family Nutrition Researcher Wins International Prize

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Prof. Jess Haines

Dr. Jess Haines, a professor of nutrition in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition (FRAN), has received the Danone International Prize for Alimentation (DIPA) for her research promoting sustainable healthy eating among families through novel, interdisciplinary research and knowledge mobilization.

The EUR100,000 prize (Cdn $150,000) is awarded every two years by the Danone Institute International (DII), in collaboration with the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale. The prize is intended to encourage new, innovative and multidisciplinary research in “alimentation” — the umbrella term for sustainable eating and drinking practices that contribute to health, including food choice, preparation and meal organization.

The award is also meant to raise the profile of a mid-career researcher and accelerate their career and to help advance understanding of alimentation through cutting-edge research.

The committee said Haines has made important contributions to research on community- and family-based interventions to promote healthful behaviours among families with preschool children.

Haines is co-director of the Guelph Family Health Study, a family-based cohort study designed to identify early life risk predictors of chronic diseases and examine the influence of interventions on family health behaviours and outcomes.

The study involves an interdisciplinary team of experts in nutrition, epidemiology, health economics, microbiology, biostatistics and genetics who are studying more than 300 families; they aim to recruit 300 more families over the next two years.

The team has led research to understand associations between factors such as food literacy and diet quality and household food waste. They have translated these findings into behaviour change interventions and educational tools to support sustainable, healthy eating among families.

Haines studies food literacy, positive food parenting and fathers’ influence on children’s eating. She explores strategies for promoting sustainable, healthy eating among families that is also sustainable for the planet.