Food, Nutrition & Science: Matchmaking for Farmers, State-by-State Obesity programs, and Sweetener Use in the U.S.

January 28, 2013

Farmers are matched with people who own underutilized land, State programs tackle obesity locally, and researchers explore how sweeteners are impacting American diets. These stories and more in this month's issue of Food, Nutrition & Science.

EHarmony. OkCupid. Match. JDate. In this modern day and age, online dating has become a common – and often preferred – method for bringing people together, helping participants meet a partner with similar interests and maybe even make a love match. Now, aspiring farmers are also giving this online connection format a try to meet potential business partners.

In this month's issue of Food, Nutrition & Science, we feature Pennsylvania-based Farm Lease Connection, an online “matchmaking” site of sorts where future farmers can meet people who own underutilized land – and then lease that land for their farming endeavor. 

In another story, childhood obesity rates are staggering, to say the least, which is why well publicized, national programs to fight obesity – like First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign – are so important. But lesser known local obesity programs are starting to make their marks as well. State-run initiatives are tackling obesity on local and neighborhood levels, intervening where residents need it most. Read about some of these unique states' solutions.

And in another story, interest in how sweeteners function in the American food supply has grown in recent years, as there is a large variety of both caloric and noncaloric sweeteners used in foods. Concerns about how these sweeteners affect health, especially since sweeteners are sources of energy with very little nutritional value, have brought the issue to the nutrition dialogue forefront. A new study from the University of North Carolina and published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explores therelationship between the intake of sweeteners and heart health, but there is also concern that exposure to so much sweet stuff in our food could lead to changing taste preferences, energy intake and dietary patterns.

These stories and more are are available in this month's issue of Food, Nutrition & Science. To receive this free monthly newsletter, sign up here.