MORGANTOWN — In many rural areas, treating chronic diseases related to diet and weight is challenging because of limited access to food and nutrition experts. A WVU professor has found that using technology to connect those experts with middle-aged and older patients in those areas can improve nutritional health.

Melissa Ventura Marra, assistant professor of human nutrition and foods in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, is part of a multistate research team that is evaluating how food security and lifestyle choices such as diet quality and physical activity affect individual health and well-being.

The project includes a broad range of research, from basic science to social science, from 13 universities around the country. A team of scientists from the group presented their findings during a special symposium as part of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics last week in San Francisco. The symposium, titled “Successes in older adult nutrition and physical activity studies,” is the result of a USDA-funded multistate research project that began in 1989.