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What Would Einstein Do? Part XIX: Walter Willett

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyOct 15, 2008 8:26 PM

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What are the three most important things the next U.S. president needs to do for science? To cut through the jargon and find an answer, we bring you the DISCOVER Science Policy Project, in which we give a group of the country’s most celebrated scientists and thinkers the chance to state their views. All past responses can be found here. WALTER WILLETT Epidemiologist and nutrition expert Support more research on alternative, sustainable energy sources, transportation, and food production. In the long run, this is crucial for the quality of life of Americans.

Commit more research funding to translation of existing knowledge into practice. We know what should be done to prevent most of the major diseases that burden our population, but we often don’t know how to do this most effectively or efficiently.

For example, we know that our children need to be more physically active and eat more fruits and vegetables, but we don’t the most effective ways to translate this knowledge into behavior.

Restore funding for research. This has been declining in recent years in terms of real dollars, at a time when the rest of the world is ramping up their research investment. Science is one of the few areas where the U.S. has had world leadership, and we are at risk of losing this.

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