In an interview with Dr. Tahra ElObeid, Head of QU’s Department of Human Nutrition, she discussed department’s dedication towards implementing education, research and outreach activities designed to promote a safe, nutritious, accessible, and affordable food that enhances human health.
Dr. Tahra ElObeid, said: “Health is the most important asset to mankind and the way to be healthy is through nutrition. Nutrition will aid in the development and change of health, for the individual and for the community. Several factors affect the health of humans, which include human genetics and the environment in which they live in. Nutritional applications can even treat diseases caused by genetics.” She adds, “The health of society is directly proportional to the health of the individuals constituting the society.”
Dietitians are the only healthcare professionals competent and knowledgeable in human nutrition subject. Hence, dietitian’s education is extremely important for accurate counseling. QU offers the ‘Supervised Professional Practice,’ which is a training process for students who want to become competent dietitians.
The Human Nutrition Department has full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). ACEND recognition is granted to dietetics programs located in colleges or universities outside the US based on review of an eligibility application, self-study and site visit by ACEND.
Recently, the Human Nutrition Department has launched a new Master of Science (MSc) degree, where students can practice advanced course work in the biochemical, clinical, community, and behavioral aspects of nutrition.
While discussing new researches by the department, Dr. Tahra said: “Faculty members from the Human Nutrition Department have several research grants at a national and international level and are currently working on studies related to the non-communicable diseases, obesity, food safety, Qatari foods and some on the relationship between nutrition and Covid-19.”
Current research by the department include topics such as screen time, fast food consumption in relation to glycemic control, vitamin D and dietary patterns, the relationship between bone mineral density and body composition among Qatari females, Qatar Biobank for Medical Research (QBB) data, plant-based diet and its association with cancer, rice intake and cognitive function among Qatari adults and serum magnesium and body composition among Qatari adults.
“These researches have a direct affect on Qatar and in the world. The availability of precise information relating to a population’s nutritional status and the health outcomes associated with it is an important factor for the development of policies and procedures that would help alleviate the nutrition related diseases,” she added.
Dr. Tahra said nutrition awareness events will be conducted in March and April which include the ‘SMART START’ event, which will provide many nutrition awareness activities for children in public and private schools. The ‘Healthy and Active Employees’ event targets the QU community and includes a nutrition awareness webinar, and also focuses on healthy culinary techniques to modify the traditional Qatari, Asian and Arabic cuisine.
Furthermore, a series of workshop entitled as ‘Beginning your Path to Success’ will be delivered to alumni to update and boost their knowledge.
The Department of Human Nutrition also continues to expand its other outreach activities, while new virtual platforms have made it even easier to reach a large sector of the society. “Despite the challenges, The College of Health Sciences have managed to move steadily ahead and the past year has been filled with numerous accomplishments in several areas such as teaching, research, community service and events.”