Rajavel Elango, Associate Professor

University of British Columbia

Ensuring Nutrient Adequacy for a Healthy and Sustainable Diet

Dietary sustainability encompasses both human and environmental health, ensuring adequate nutrition throughout the lifespan while minimizing ecological impacts. Nutrient adequacy is a cornerstone of a healthy, sustainable diet; however, nutrient deficiencies remain highly prevalent worldwide, including in mid- to high income countries such as Canada. Consequently, concepts such as nutrient density and dietary diversity, through an appropriate balance of plant and animal-source foods, should be considered to effectively overcome nutrient gaps, in combination with adapted, context-dependent considerations for environmental resources. During this presentation, the participant will: 1. Deepen their understanding of the concepts underpinning a healthy, sustainable diet, such as nutrient adequacy and different environmental metrics; 2. Gain insight the prevalence and risk factors associated with common nutrient deficiencies; 3. Recognize the importance of nutrient density and dietary diversity in the context of a healthy, sustainable diet and how different food categories can make important, complementary nutritional contributions; 4. Learn about the different environmental metrics associated with agriculture and how context can influence environmental footprint(s).

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Dr. Rajavel Elango is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, and School of Population and Public Health, at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He is also an Investigator at the Research Institute, BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Elango’s research program focuses on identification of dietary requirements for protein and amino acids, and protein quality of foods during key stages of growth and development, such as pregnancy, lactation, childhood malnutrition and in in-born errors of metabolism using state-of-the-art stable isotope techniques. Dr. Elango is a Deputy Editor for the British Journal of Nutrition, and a Section Editor for the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. He is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and Vice-President (Research) for the Canadian Nutrition Society. Dr. Elango was part of the 2020 National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Expert Workshop on Nutrition During Pregnancy and Lactation: Exploring New Evidence. Dr. Elango has been part of the United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2014 and 2017 Expert Working Group on protein quality of foods, and a recent 2022 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Expert Meeting on “Assessment of Protein Requirements and Protein Quality and for the Development of a Protein Digestibility and Quality Database”.