In international nutrition as discussed in work by the distinguished Cornell professor, Dr. Michael Latham, and perhaps also in exercise science?
(See http://www.labome.org/expert/usa/cornell/latham/michael-c-latham-183342.html and my recent blog entry, http://blog.gigiberardi.com/2011/01/18/several-more-important-lessons-from-jazzercise-no-less/)? Dr. Latham is widely known for his nutritional work in Tanzania. I first studied such work in a class I took with him at Cornell, when he was reporting on very puzzling evidence overseas. The data showed that even when caloric intake is controlled for (in scientific studies) and equalized at an extremely low level, some children can continue to thrive (relatively speaking) – a parent’s touch, family connection to the greater world through different media and networking, use of multiple languages in the home – all these can be as effective as additional calories in providing actual nutrition. Seemingly impossible, and certainly not a recipe for long-term survival (or happiness) and of course easy for me to say with my sometimes-overfed family in this world, but it shows that, well, food isn’t everything – when a gentle touch can be worth more than a teaspoon of corn meal. Likewise, exercise is much more effective (in terms of burning calories), when the movement itself is directed and focused (see my Finding Balance blog).