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Dietetics & Nutrition

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MeSH definition

What are MeSH?

MeSH are Medical Subject Headings. Articles in the MEDLINE database are tagged/described using terms from a standardized list of vocabulary. These terms are called Medical Subject Headings or MeSH. MeSH groups articles about the same topic under the same subject headings, making it easier to find relevant material. 

MeSH consists of subject terms in a hierarchical structure which allows for searching at various levels of specificity. At the most general level of the hierarchical structure are very broad headings such as... "Therapeutics" 

e.g. Therapeutics

            Nutrition Therapy

                  Diet Therapy

                       Caloric Restriction


or the broad heading such as "Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases"

e.g. Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases

            Metabolic Diseases

                  Glucose Metabolism Disorders

                        Diabetes Mellitus


Note: Check the scope note for your MeSH term to ensure you have the correct term!

MeSH related to nutrition and health

Here is a list of potentially useful Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) with their associated scope notes for searching in MEDLINE.

  • Food-Drug Interactions - The pharmacological result, either desirable or undesirable, of drugs interacting with components of the diet.
  • Nutritional Status - State of the body in relation to the consumption and utilization of nutrients.
  • Malnutrition - An imbalanced nutritional status resulted from insufficient intake of nutrients to meet normal physiological requirement.
  • Nutrition Disorders - Disorders caused by nutritional imbalance, either overnutrition or undernutrition.
  • Health Status - The level of health of the individual, group, or population as subjectively assessed by the individual or by more objective measures.
  • Risk Assessment - The qualitative or quantitative estimation of the likelihood of adverse effects that may result from exposure to specified health hazards or from the absence of beneficial influences.
  • Risk Factors - An aspect of personal behavior or lifestyle, environmental exposure, or inborn or inherited characteristic, which, on the basis of epidemiologic evidence, is known to be associated with a health-related condition considered important to prevent.
  • Socioeconomic Factors - Social and economic factors that characterize the individual or group within the social structure.
  • Time Factors - Elements of limited time intervals, contributing to particular results or situations. e.g. daily use of supplement

MeSH and keywords related to research methods

Retrospective Chart Review

  • Retrospective Studies [MeSH]
  • exp Medical Records [MeSH]
  • "chart review" [keyword]

Practice Standard

  • Practice Guideline [MeSH publication type]
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic [MeSH] - may be more useful
  • Standards [Subheading to be used with topic]

Validated Screening Tool

  • Nutritional Assessment [MeSH] - NT Nutrition Surveys (and even more NT Diet Survey)
  • Questionnaires [MeSH] - NT Self Report [MeSH]
  • Mass Screening [MeSH]
  • “Reproducibility of Results” [MeSH]

Analysis of Existing Data

  • Registries [MeSH]
  • Databases, Factual [MeSH]
  • "existing data" [keyword]

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