The science of food, the nutrients and other substances contained therein, their action, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease (MeSH
NLM collects research and clinical literature in every aspect of human nutrition including normal nutrition (caloric and nutrient requirements throughout the life cycle and for specific populations), clinical nutrition (nutrition intervention aimed at the treatment or prevention of disease or illness), and nutritional epidemiology. The Library also collects literature on public policies that affect nutrition and health.
Because of the library's emphasis on biomedical research, NLM is particularly interested in works dealing with the physiology and biochemistry of nutrition. Works on nutrition as a health care profession are collected, as are works on nutrition education written primarily for those engaged in or preparing for careers in nutrition research, clinical nutrition, or nutrition in a health care setting. A limited number of instructional works written for general audiences or patients may be selected for their historical value, to chronicle public health outreach efforts, or to represent materials available to health providers for direct patient care. Such materials are collected very selectively with the emphasis on authoritative materials likely to be widely used in U.S. health care.
NLM collects more narrowly in food-related subject areas. The Library's primary interests are food composition, foodborne illness and food toxicology, including bioterrorism. NLM also collects works that emphasize the public health aspects of food labeling and food inspection, rather than the management or techniques of dairy, meat, fish or other food inspection programs. NLM collects works on dietary habits and customs when the content is related to health. NLM collects works on food service management in health care facilities, but not those on general food service management. NLM does not collect works on the food industry, food technology, food supply (including food consumption, food security and food economics), or home food preparation and handling.
Together the NAL, NLM, and LC attempt to collect, retain, and preserve all significant information on nutrition and food; however, aspects of the subject areas are collected and treated differently at each institution depending upon its mission and the needs of its users. See the NAL, NLM and LC Joint Collection Development Policy Statement on Human Nutrition and Food
. The subject of animal nutrition is addressed in the statement on veterinary medicine