CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo

Food and Nutrition

Meeting theme: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness"

Submission Deadline: Sunday, March 21, 2021

Table of Contents:



The APHA Food & Nutrition Section (FN) invites abstracts and full session proposals for the 2021 APHA Annual Meeting, which will feature the theme of “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness” on October 23 - October 27, 2021 in Denver, CO. [Note: APHA leadership will continue to consider all options for this year’s meeting. At this time, we are planning for a hybrid meeting (virtual and in-person).] Individual abstracts and full session proposals, along with all abstracts in the proposal, must be submitted by the deadline of March 21, 2021.

We are accepting submissions representing a wide range of food and nutrition topics. In recognition of the 2021 APHA Annual Meeting theme, we are particularly interested in submissions that highlight social connections, social networks, or social capital and the intersection with food and nutrition within communities and populations. We are also interested in proposals that apply an equity lens to nutrition-related research, policies, and programs.

We welcome abstracts on research, policies, theoretical ideas, or evidence-based practice, in the public or private sectors, with a national or international focus that examines subjects such as:

  • Impact of COVID-19 on food systems, food security, nutrition behaviors, dietary intake, and nutritional status of a population or sub-population.
  • Social determinants of health and their intersections with food and nutrition behavior/outcomes, policies and programs.
  • Cross-sector solutions to food and nutrition-related issues in a variety of settings such as the workplace, home, and community.
  • Nutrition and nutrition behavior across the lifespan.
  • Nutrition-related issues facing vulnerable populations such as individuals living with disabilities, refugees, and individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • Translational nutritional science, programs and interventions that serve populations most affected by diet-related diseases and that strive to address health equity.
  • Innovative research methodologies in food and nutrition.

Plans for the Food and Nutrition (FN) Sessions

  • The final program will consist of a combination of 1) poster and oral sessions compiled from individually contributed abstracts, 2) full panel sessions, fully compiled and coordinated by submitting parties and 3) invited and collaborative sessions on important topics identified by section leadership.
  • Abstracts that combine nutrition with other disciplines such as school health, community health, physical activity, maternal and child health, environmental health, transportation, land use, equity and environmental justice, communications, statistics, law, and/or other disciplines are of particular interest.
  • Student abstracts are strongly encouraged. The FN Section will present an award to the highest scoring student abstract at the section awards ceremony in Denver, CO. Award recipients must attend the conference, or forfeit their award.


All persons making a presentation at the Annual Meeting & Exposition (including presenting an abstract) must become individual members of APHA, must register for the annual meeting, and pay a registration fee in order to participate in the program and make their presentations. APHA does not pay honoraria or expenses to any presenter.

Presentations may not be submitted to multiple Sections, SPIGs, Caucuses or Forums and may be presented only one time during the Annual Meeting & Expo. The presentation may not be presented or published prior to the APHA Annual Meeting. 


Research Presentations

Abstracts describing scientific research should focus on new knowledge, trends and solutions in public health nutrition.

Program or Policy Presentations

Program or policy abstracts should describe the application of knowledge to real-world problems or policies. Many times these types of abstracts are referred to as public health in practice.  


  • Individual abstract contributions are welcome. Program planners will combine accepted individual abstracts into 90 minute oral sessions (4-5 individual abstracts of 15-20 minute oral presentations) and poster sessions (sets of 10 posters organized and presented together within a 60 minute session). Program planners might also elect to organize a 90 minute roundtable session encompassing up to 10 individual abstracts for a topic.
  • Please indicate in your submission the preferred type of presentation (oral only, poster, or no preference).  Your indication of no preference will allow your abstract to be considered for a greater number of session types. Program planners will make every effort to honor your presentation preference.
  • Please indicate in the comment box the type of abstract you are submitting (Research/Theoretical Idea or Program/Policy).
  • Abstract text should be no less than 150 words and no more than 250 words.
  • Include 2-3 measurable objectives with your abstract (see continuing education credit instructions below; although only 1 objective for CE is required the section requires 2-3 objectives).
  • Abstracts should be free of trade and commercial product names including, for example, Wal-Mart, SPSS, Stata, ArcGIS, Food ProcessorSQL, Dun & Bradstreet, and InfoUSA.
  • Persons submitting individual abstracts will be notified by email regarding the status of their submissions by June 1st.

To review examples of accepted abstracts from past meetings, click on the following link:


Proposals for full panel sessions are welcome. Full panel sessions are comprised of invited speakers who will address different aspects of the same topic of interest or a set of closely related topics. They generally include a session introduction by a moderator, 3-4 key presenters, and a discussant.

Persons submitting full session proposals must send a session overview to the FN Section Program Planning Chair (contact information is provided below) AND submit all individual abstracts for each speaker online by the above- mentioned deadline.

All proposals should contain an overview document (should not exceed two pagessingle-spaced) with the following information in the order listed below:

1) Session organizer’s name, affiliation, complete mailing address, e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers (on top of page 1).

2) Brief overview including the title, relevance (purpose and importance) of the proposed session.

3) Two to three learning objectives for the session (see continuing education credit instructions below).

4) List of proposed speakers (including any discussant or presiding individual), their affiliations and proposed presentation topics, and individual abstract submission numbers. DO NOT SUBMIT INDIVIDUAL ABSTRACT TEXT.

5) Session Timeline/Agenda: Detailed schedule for an hour and a half session. Please list the start and end time for each moderator, presenter, and discussant, the presenter’s name (underlined) and all other authors and 1-3 sentences on the goal of the specific presentation. Please begin the session timeline at 0:00 hrs and end it at 1:30. Presentations may be up to 30 minutes in length.

Due to the large number of abstracts the FN section receives each year, failure to follow this format and adhere to the 2-page maximum will result in your proposal not being considered for inclusion in the program.

  • The overview document for all full panel session proposals - as outlined above - must be submitted by email to the FN Program Chair by the abstract submission deadline. The overview documents are not submitted through the online system. See below for email address.
  • In addition to the proposal overview document, a complete abstract for each proposed presentation will need to be submitted online via the contributed abstracts system by March 21st. Abstracts are not required for the session introduction or discussion. Each abstract must follow the format guidelines for individually contributed abstracts and include 2-3 measurable learning objectives (see continuing education credit instructions below).
  • When speakers/panelists for full panel sessions submit their abstracts online, they should write in the comment box "I am an invited panel member for a full-session proposal." Once the panelist receives his/her abstract number, he/she must send it to the session organizer who is in turn responsible for sending all abstract numbers to the FN Section Program Planning Chair. This ensures that all panelists in the full session are placed together.
  • If a full panel session is not accepted as proposed, the individual abstracts for the session submitted online will still be considered for the program (if the speakers would like) and may be assigned to a session(s) in which they fit best.
  • We encourage full panel sessions to allow time for discussion and questions from the audience. In the past, point/counterpoint and panel discussions that engage the audience have been well received. This format should be highlighted in the submission text and timeline.
  • If the session will include the release of any new reports or data, this should be mentioned in the proposal, along with any plans to promote the session to news media.
  • All sessions will be reviewed by the FN Section Program Planning Committee. Acceptance notices will be sent to full session organizers no later than June 1, 2021. Please consider that proposals are competitive. If accepted, organizers and presenters will be requested to complete a conflict of interest disclosure.

Full panel session overviews should be sent to:

Mary Larson, PhD, MPH, RD, CHES

2021 Food & Nutrition Section Program Chair



All applicants are encouraged to consider an abstract relevant to the 2021 Annual Meeting theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness.”  Please submit individual abstracts related to one of the topics listed below. Please note that these topics are used for sorting purposes onlyWhile we would like you to select and submit under the category that best represents the focus of your abstract, abstracts will not be evaluated based on their ability to fit within a given topical area.
  • Engaging Communities and Fostering Social Connectedness in Nutrition Research, Program, or Policy Design and Implementation
    Including, but not limited to, successful examples and results of: Community based and participatory action research; Youth engagement in program and policy development; Community coalitions addressing obesity, hunger, health equity; food policy councils; Collaborative models and place-based models for demonstrating collective impact in the area of food and nutrition (common agenda, shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and backbone organization).
  • Food Systems, Agriculture, and Food Safety Practices
    Including, but not limited to: Local, regional, national and/or global food systems; Sustainable food production; Land use and planning to support local and regional food systems; Intersection of climate change with food systems, agriculture, food production; Safe food handling practices; Consumer food safety; Food safety policies; Foodborne illness; Food justice and food sovereignty; Water availability.
  • Global, Federal, and Local Food and Nutrition Programs
    Including, but not limited to: Equitable implementation of and access to federal nutrition assistance programs (e.g. federal distribution, child nutrition, SNAP, and WIC); Effectiveness of Nutrition Education in Federal Nutrition Programs (Team Nutrition, SNAP-Ed, Child Nutrition); SNAP incentives and restrictions; Fruit and vegetable prescription programs; Emergency food assistance; Nutrition Assistance Programs for older adults (e.g., Meals on Wheels, farmers’ markets); state and federal food assistance reform initiatives.
  • Implementation and Evaluation of National, State, and Local Nutrition Recommendations and Policy
    Including, but not limited to: 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Healthy People 2030, the National Prevention Strategy, the Affordable Care Act; National non-profit organizations (e.g. American Heart Association, American Cancer Society); and International standards and programs. Including consideration for sustainability aspects of large-scale nutrition recommendations and standards; establishing a science basis for supporting recommendations; Data to support implementation and evaluation of large scale initiatives and nutrition policy.
  • Nutrition & Nutrition Behavior across the Lifespan
    Including, but not limited to: Nutrition education and behavior across the lifespan; Maternal and neonatal nutrition; Policies and programs that support breastfeeding; infant and young child feeding; Programs and policies developed under life course framework; Cultural and family influences on nutrition and dietary practices of young and school-age children and adolescents; Dietary practices and outcomes of young adults, working aged adults, and older adults
  • Nutrition Disparities & Nutrition-Related Issues Facing Vulnerable Populations
    Including but not limited to: Programs, interventions, or basic research addressing age, race, gender, income, literacy, culture, location, and other factors and their intersection with food and nutrition; Disparities in the food environment and/or food chain, such as access to and availability of healthy food; Innovative solutions to nutrition disparities in vulnerable populations, such as caregivers of wounded service members, individuals with disabilities, refugees, or the homeless.
  • Nutritional Epidemiology, Measurement, and Technology
    Including, but not limited to: Best practices in dietary assessment, surveillance and trend evaluation; Population health, food and nutrient intake; Links between dietary behaviors, geography, environment, social-economic factors and health outcomes. Qualitative and quantitative measurement strategies; use of culturally appropriate methodologies when working with ethnic groups or minority/disadvantaged populations. Use and impact of innovative technology on nutrition programming, measurement, and behaviors/outcomes. Measurements of social connectedness such as social network analysis, social capital, and community-based participatory research.
  • Policies, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) Change Approaches to Improving Diet and Food Systems
    Including, but not limited to: Policy, systems, and environmental changes to address food insecurity, prevent obesity, or impact other diet-related diseases; Employment, housing, education, transportation, or health care policies as they relate to food and nutrition; solutions to inequities in the built, social, economic, communications and normative environments. PSE innovations in healthy food retail; Evaluation/measurement, tracking and impact of changes in the food and activity environment (e.g. environmental audits, GIS, etc.); strategies to increasing access to healthy, affordable foods.
  • Socio-Cultural, Political, and Contextual Factors Affecting Food and Nutrition
    Including, but not limited to: The relationship between structural violence and community nutrition; The intersection of food insecurity and domestic violence; Differences in nutrition and nutrition-related behavior by culture, religion, and political affiliation/views; The impact of discrimination and stigma on dietary practices; The role of politics in food policy.
  • Other Topics in Food & Nutrition

Research Presentations

Abstracts must include the following four elements (please include these section headings in your abstract text):

1) Introduction – purpose and background/context and purpose of topic/issue investigation;

2) Methods – research methodology in terms of data collection and study design;

3) Results – specific study findings. For studies in progress, list results or outcomes that will be presented at APHA; and,

4) Discussion - importance or significance of the findings.

Program or Policy Presentations

Abstracts must include the following four elements (please include these section headings in your abstract text):

1) Introduction –problem statement and background of program, topic, or issue;

2) Approach – program development, implementation, and/or evaluation; strategies/policies to address problem

3) Results – program or policy impact and,

4) Discussion - importance or significance of the program or policy.

All Abstracts will be Evaluated Using the Following Review Criteria

Abstract Content – specific to presenting topic, must be of sound science, evidence-based practice and serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills and competence of the health professional. Content must be objective, free from bias and promotion, no use of commercial entities, products, services, logos, or brand names.

Learning Outcomes – at least one measurable learning outcome that reflects what the learner will be able to do as a result of participating in this educational activity (no compound outcomes - list each outcome separately)

GAP addressed – Were gaps addressed?  Was it based on sound science, evidence-based (promising practice) that identified the change in skills, knowledge, and/or the opportunity for improvement?

Competency - Did the abstract address a core competency in public health, nursing, medicine or health education? (Additional information on core competencies located here:

Quality of Written Abstract – Was the abstract coherent? Did the abstract clearly state the purpose and/or relevance?

Relevance to Public Health Nutrition - For example, is this timely from a policy or science perspective? Is there potential for large-scale impact?

Importance of Topic - How important is this topic to the field? Does the research appear to be of high quality? OR, is the policy/program aligned with upcoming policy discourse?

Qualification Statement – Did the presenter clearly describe his/her qualification and areas of expertise? Example: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the epidemiology of drug abuse, HIV prevention and co-occurring mental and drug use disorders. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for preventing HIV and STDs in out-of-treatment drug users.

Adherence to instruction for submission and formatting - NOTE: *Abstracts that do not follow directions will receive lower scores*


APHA values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, health educators, and those certified in public health at its annual meeting. Please complete all required information when submitting an abstract so members can claim credit for attending your session. These credits are necessary for members to keep their licenses and credentials.

For a session to be eligible for Continuing Education Credit, each presenter must provide:

1) An abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names.

2) At least one MEASURABLE outcome. 

Use ONLY the following verbs: Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define or List.

Do NOT use “to understand” or “to learn” (as they are not measurable outcomes); and do not submit compound outcomes.  

3) A signed Conflict of Interest (Disclosure) form with a relevant Qualification Statement. See an example of an acceptable Qualification Statement on the online Disclosure form.

Example of Acceptable Biographical Qualification Statement:

Good Example: I am qualified because I have conducted research in the area of maternal and child health for the past 20 years and have given multiple presentations on this subject.

Bad Example: I am qualified because I am a professor at XYZ University.

Contact Mighty Fine at if you have any questions concerning continuing education. For program questions, contact the program planner listed below.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Mary Larson


Abby Gold