David H. Holben is a professor of food and nutrition sciences in Ohio University's School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness.

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Canada-U.S. Fulbright scholar to study link between poverty and poor nutrition

David H. Holben, Ohio University professor of food and nutrition sciences, will spend the fall studying links between poverty and poor nutrition on Canada’s Prince Edward Island as part of a Fulbright Award project that he hopes will yield lessons for rural southeast Ohio. 

A registered dietitian whose program is part of the College of Health Sciences and Professions, Holben studies food insecurity – defined as the limited availability of and access to nutritionally adequate food for an active and healthy life. While in Canada, he will examine the fruit and vegetable intake and food insecurity among mothers with young children on the island off Canada’s east coast. He will also serve as the visiting research chair of nutrisciences and health at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

“Of all Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island has the worst level of food insecurity,” Holben said, citing a recent University of Toronto study that reported 1 in 4 children live in households that lack money to buy enough healthy food. “Similar to our Appalachian region, families on Prince Edward Island often have a difficult time making ends meet. Consequently, both their food intake and health suffer. 

“It is an honor for me to be able to carry out this research with the support of Fulbright Canada, in order to learn more about the problem and help to find solutions,” he said.  “Interacting with stakeholders in the region will also promote the exchange of ideas, which will undoubtedly benefit our Appalachian region, as well as my classroom teaching.”

It will be Holben’s second foray northward as a Canada-U.S. Fulbright Scholar. In 2007, he spent several months as the visiting research chair of sustainability at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. There he explored food security and health status among participants of emergency food programs around Vancouver. He also has received two EcoLeadership Awards from Fulbright Canada for programming in southeast Ohio, including an organic gardening/fruit tree permaculture project, as well as an ecological nutrition lecture series.   

The Fulbright Scholar Program sends 900 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. Grantees lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. For further information on the program, visit the Fulbright Scholar Web page at http://www.cies.org/us_scholars/.

Jody Grenert (grenert@ohio.edu) is the communication director for Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions.