Special Issue "The Close Relationship: Health and Nutrition"


A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Samir Samman
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Website: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/profiles/ssamman.php
E-Mail: samir.samman@otago.ac.nz
Phone: +64 3 479 7945
Interests: nutritional science; vitamins; minerals; zinc; biomarkers; chronic disease

Guest Editor
Professor Ian Darnton-Hill AO
The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, Sydney Medical School, K25-Medical Foundation Building K25, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Website: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/profiles/idarntonhill.php#themes
E-Mail: iandarntonhill@aol.com
Interests: public health nutrition; global health and nutrition policy; double burden of malnutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Health is inextricably linked to nutrition. An unbalanced diet, whether deficient in one or more nutrients or excessive intakes of macronutrients, contribute to many physical and mental disorders. Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their lifestyles, genetic predisposition and the environment, especially their nutrition. Diet-related factors that affect the health of individuals include access to an adequate and safe food supply, consuming a balanced diet, keeping active, and drinking alcohol in moderation, and others more subtle in their effects. How we deal with stress also affects health. This special issue of Healthcare examines “the close relationship: health and nutrition” and aims to bring together recent findings in this field. Previously unpublished articles that describe research in diverse populations are invited and welcome.

Dr. Samir Samman
Professor Ian Darnton-Hill AO
Guest Editors


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • micronutrients
  • macronutrients
  • dietary patterns
  • food security
  • food safety

Published Papers (2 papers)

by , , , , , , , ,  and
Healthcare 2014, 2(3), 282-298; doi:10.3390/healthcare2030282
Received: 5 February 2014; in revised form: 21 June 2014 / Accepted: 3 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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abstract graphic

by , , ,  and
Healthcare 2014, 2(2), 207-219; doi:10.3390/healthcare2020207
Received: 12 February 2014; in revised form: 1 April 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2014 / Published: 28 April 2014
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: The Relationship between Folic Acid and Risk of Autism
Yasmin Neggers
Department of Human Nutrition, The University of Alabama, Box 870311, Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0311, USA; E-Mail: yneggers@ches.ua.edu
There is considerable scientific evidence that many aspects of diet influence the occurrence of human disease. Prevalence and prevention of major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and more recently, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and autism to name a few have been the objects of such research. In spite of the fact that many factors such as genetic, psychological, environmental and behavioral characteristics influence development of human disease, there is a close relationship between nutrition and disease. Even though typical Western diets are not overtly deficient in essential nutrients, nutriture of a few micro nutrients such as folic acid has been reported to be sub-optimal, particularly in women of childbearing age. Folic acid is needed for cell differentiation and growth and is necessary for functions of the nervous system. The role of folic acid in prevention of macrocytic anemia and neural tube defects is well established. However, the relationship between folic acid and risk of autism is still evolving. In this article, recent research regarding the relationship between folic acid and risk of autism is evaluated.
Keywords: Micronutrients; dietary patterns; folic acid; autism

Type of Paper: Article
Telehealth Coaching to Promote Bone Health and Nutrition in Deployed Soldiers
Mary S. McCarthy
Center for Nursing Science & Clinical Inquiry, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA 98388, USA; E-Mail: mary.s.mccarthy1.civ@mail.mil
The purpose of this study was to determine if telehealth coaching is superior to one-time nutrition and fitness education regarding: a) dietary contributions to bone health, and b) exercise contributions to bone health, assessed before and after deployment. Young service men and women are returning from war with significant physical injuries, as well as “wear and tear” from long work hours, heavy body armor, and alterations in diet and exercise behaviors. This is the second in a series of studies examining the impact of deployment specifically on bone health and nutrition. Previous findings have demonstrated that inadequate consumption of calcium and vitamin D and a decrease in exercise while deployed can be detrimental to bone health. This prospective, longitudinal, cluster-randomized, controlled trial enrolled 234 Soldiers at baseline; 155 returned from deployment with 85 in the telehealth group and 70 in the control group, yielding a 34% attrition rate. All Soldiers received a nutrition and bone health class prior to deployment; Soldiers randomized to the telehealth intervention group received on-demand health-related messages via electronic mail platforms. Baseline 25(OH) vitamin D revealed a high rate of insufficiency (61%, level < 30 ng/mL) and moderate level of deficiency (17%, level < 20 ng/mL) in both groups. Soldier participants significantly improved their vitamin D levels post-deployment with the control group achieving a “sufficient” level; M=34.9 ng/mL. Post-deployment bone turnover measured by osteocalcin was significantly higher in the telehealth group (22.0 + 0.99 vs 28.3 + 1.1 ng/mL; p = 0.01) and change in sport index was positive for this group but negative for the control group (-0.17 + .09 vs 0.29 + 0.11; p = .01). Improving vitamin D status and remaining active while deployed appears to sustain healthy bone density in young Soldiers. Bone density remained stable with no significant difference between groups. Early and aggressive educational outreach efforts can prevent chronic musculoskeletal conditions and disabling osteoporosis.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Prevention of diabetes after gestational diabetes: better translation of nutrition and lifestyle messages needed
Sharleen O’Reilly
Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia; E-Mails: sharleen.oreilly@deakin.edu.au; Tel.: +61-3-9244-6778; Fax: +61-3-9244-4219.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and Gestational Diabetes (GDM) are important and escalating problems worldwide. GDM increases the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth, as well as a 1 in 2 chance of developing T2DM later in life. The burden of GDM extends to offspring, who have an increased risk of obesity and diabetes – further perpetuating the cycle of diabetes within families. Clinical trial evidence demonstrates T2DM incidence reduced by up to 50% for women with GDM with nutrition and physical activity changes and the economic modeling suggests cost effectiveness. The key diet-related changes to reduce T2DM risk are reviewed, in addition to breastfeeding. The difficulties associated with the delivery of dietary and lifestyle behaviour change to women after GDM are discussed and focus on the complex healthcare system interactions needed for care delivery, women finding postpartum self-care challenging and low levels of awareness being present across the board. In addition, studies currently underway to improve care provision in this important area will be examined.

Type of Paper: Article
Dietary intake is related to multifactor cardiovascular risk score in obese boys
Tracy L Schumacher (B.HSc)1,2, Tracy L Burrows (PhD)1,2, Dylan P Cliff (PhD)3, Rachel A Jones (PhD)3, Anthony D Okely (PhD)3, Louise A Baur (PhD)4 , Philip J Morgan (PhD)2,5, Robin Callister (PhD)2,6, May M Boggess (PhD)1,7, Clare E Collins (PhD)1,2§
Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) originates in childhood and early identification of risk factors provides an opportunity for early intervention and prevention. CVD risk factors are known to cluster in children. The aim was to develop a multifactor CVD risk score to identify children at higher risk. Methods: Individual CVD risk scores were developed using normal pediatric reference ranges for 10 common biomedical risk factors, summed in a multifactor CVD risk score and applied to a sample of 285 observations from 136 overweight Australian children (41% male, aged 7-12 years). Risk was scored as high (≥97.5th centile), intermediate (≥95th), threshold (≥90th) or low (<90th) with three, two, one and zero points awarded respectively. Strength of associations between CVD risk and individual biomedical and dietary variables were assessed using univariate logistic regression. Results: High waist circumference (Odds Ratio: 5.48, 95% CI: 2.60-11.55), body mass index (OR: 3.22, 95% CI: 1.98 -5.26), serum insulin (OR: 3.37, 95% CI: 2.56-4.42) and triglycerides (OR: 3.02, 95% CI: 2.22-4.12) were all significantly related to CVD risk score, indicating that overweight children were more likely to have >1 risk factor. High intakes of total fat (OR: 4.44, 95% CI: 1.19-16.60), sugar (OR: 2.82, 95% CI: 1.54-5.15) and carbohydrate (OR 1.75, 95% CI: 1.11-2.77) were significantly related to CVD risk in boys only. Conclusion: This multifactor CVD risk score could be a useful tool for researchers to identify elevated risk in children. Further research is warranted to examine sex-specific dietary factors related to CVD risk in children.

Type of Paper: Article
Fat Intake and Mental Health in Mid Aged Australian Women
Lesley MacDonald-Wicks, Lee Ting, Amanda Patterson; David Sibritt
Nutrition and Dietetics, School Health Sciences, Faculty Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle (UoN), University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia; E-Mail: lesley.wicks@newcastle.edu.au
Emerging evidence relates dietary intake of unsaturated fats to mental well-being. However, the relationship between dietary intake of unsaturated fats and depression or anxiety remains poorly understood. The aim of this paper was to undertake a cross-sectional analysis of the dietary intake of unsaturated fats in a mid-aged cohort of Australian women from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health (n= 9530; 50 – 55yo in 2001) and their relationship with markers of mental well-being (CESD-10 and SF36 Mental Health subscale). The study found that for every one unit increase in oleic acid (OA), the odds of diagnosed depression declines by 1% (Odd Ratio (OR)=0.99; p=0.03). Moreover, positive associations between total omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids (n-9 MUFAs) and OA and Short Form-36 (SF-36) Mental Health subscale scores were found. Therefore, in a nationally representative sample of Australian mid-aged women, higher OA intake was inversely associated with the risk of depression, and both higher OA and total n-9 MUFAs intakes were associated with better mental health outcomes. Further prospective observational studies and trials with regular follow-up are required to confirm the association.

Type of Paper: Review
Exploiting Food Resources: Risks and Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities of Sorghum
: Proietti I., Frazzoli C. and Mantovani A.
: Food and Veterinary Toxicology Unit, Dept. Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
: Food security challenges, including climate changes and population growth, call for attention towards currently neglected food resources, like sorghum. Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a drought-resistant crop important in terms of nutritional, economic and social value, especially in semi-arid environments; it is a gluten-free staple food also valuable for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Sorghum weaknesses include susceptibility to mycotoxins contamination, amino acid imbalance and endogenous anti- nutrients that partly impair its nutritional potential. This paper reviews and discusses pros and cons of sorghum as food source and investigate approaches for improving its risk-benefit balance, such as landraces selection and characterization of local food processing methods.

Last update: 25 February 2014

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