Professor of Nutrition Education and Health Education
A major theme of my research is to make concrete and empirical examinations of effective nutrition education methodologies for teaching dietary habits that promote a healthy mind and body. The methods are verified against a broad range of age groups, from young children to the elderly. Nutrition education is implemented under varied themes. It includes not only education on nutrition itself but also the transmission of food cultures, taste education, and food and agriculture education. The effects of such education are verified through such means as questionnaire- and interview-based surveys, recorded images, and the measurement of physical attribute. Information regarding trailblazing overseas cases of nutrition education is also collected through repeated on-site inspection tours and consideration is made of their application in Japan.
Every year, we collaborate with junior high schools in Yamagata City to measure, during home economics classes, the bone mass of every student. In addition, we provide them with guidance on such matters as nutrition and exercise required for bone growth. Surveys are carried out in this way on changes in bone mass, its relationship with eating habits, and so on. Because a good balance of diet and exercise is necessary to promote good health, we measure the activity level of children in Yamagata Prefecture and study the relationship, etc., between states of health and daily lifestyles.
Because the human eye cannot readily see the nutrients contained in food, it is not easy to appreciate their existence. For this reason, it is important to teach about nutrients by creating an association between nutrients and actual food. I would like to create an excellent example of nutrient education that effectively utilizes school lunches. Yamagata Prefecture (Tsuruoka City), after all, is known as the birthplace of Japan’s first school-provided meals. Food is not only essential for our survival, it also provides wonderful opportunities for the transmission of culture as well as for the development of ties with society. I would like to continue carrying out research that takes advantage of Yamagata Prefecture’s regional characteristics while collaborating with various fields.