About the HNRCA

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The USDA Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA), located in Boston, MA, is one of six human nutrition research centers in the United States supported by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the research arm of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The goal of the HNRCA is to explore the relationship between nutrition, physical activity, and healthy and active aging. It is run by cooperative agreement between the ARS and Tufts University.

The HNRCA is one of the largest research centers in the world studying nutrition and physical activity in healthy and active aging and the prevention of age-related disease. It has made significant contributions to U.S. and international nutritional and physical activity recommendations, public policy, and clinical healthcare. These contributions include advancements in the knowledge of the role of dietary calcium and vitamin D in promoting nutrition and bone health, the role of nutrients in maintaining the optimal immune response and prevention of infectious diseases, role of diet in prevention of cancer, obesity research, modifications to the Food Guide Pyramid, contributions to the USDA nutrient data bank, advancements in the study of sarcopenia, heart disease, vision, brain and cognitive function, opinions on front of packaging food labeling initiatives, and research of how genetic factors impact predisposition to weight gain and various health indicators.