A Toolkit for Integrating Nutrition into Research

Workshop on Nutrition Data in Research

December 15-16, 2022: The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – India Research Center hosted a workshop titled ‘A Toolkit for Integrating Nutrition into Research‘ in Mumbai with Dr Shilpa Bhupathiraju, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. The workshop aimed to address the gap in the collection and usage of nutritional data within population-based research by exploring various methods and best practices. Particularly, it covered models and methods of measuring nutrition data, including diet and energy, nutrition biomarkers, dietary patterns, issues in analysis and presentation, precision nutrition, and practical application of critiquing nutrition science. The 2-day workshop was attended by 25 participants with backgrounds in research, nutrition, public health, and medicine, with a goal of learning how to utilize and read nutrition data appropriately.

The workshop was updated and conducted again in April 2024 at the IRC, and attended by 30 participants.

About the Faculty

Dr Shilpa Bhupathiraju, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthDr Shilpa Bhupathiraju
Dr Bhupathiraju is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Nutrition at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the dietary and lifestyle determinants of cardiometabolic diseases using omic technologies. She has a special interest in examining this in high-risk groups such as South Asians. Dr Bhupathiraju is the PI of several grants including an NIH grant on examining saliva and plasma metabolomic signatures of diabetes progression in Hispanic adults. She recently completed a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant where she used data from the India Migration Study and the Andhra Pradesh Children and Parents Study to develop a global diet quality index that can capture the risk of undernutrition and chronic disease.


At the conclusion of the workshop, participants were better equipped to:

  • Describe the utility and limitations of different epidemiological study designs for research in nutritional epidemiology.
  • Describe the strengths and limitations of different methods of measuring diet and identify when specific dietary methods may be most appropriate.
  • Explain the statistical methods commonly used in nutritional epidemiology to analyze diet-disease associations.
  • Describe strategies that can be used to evaluate or adjust for other dietary and lifestyle factors that may explain or influence relationships of diet and disease.

Workshop Structure

Overview of Nutritional Epidemiology
An epidemiologist’s toolkit for measuring diet in research – diet records, 24-h recalls, and FFQ
Measurement error and its correction in nutritional research
Energy adjustment – the why, when, and how
Theoretical and Empirical Dietary Patterns in nutrition research
Issues in analysis and presentation of nutrition data
Biomarkers in Nutrition Research
Precision Nutrition: Hype or Hope for Nutrition Research?
Critiquing Nutrition Science (hands on activity: participants will read and critique 3 different study designs and apply the knowledge they have learned thus far)