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Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences


Use of systems science can improve the dissemination and implementation (D&I) process. However, little is known about use of systems science in nutrition D&I research. The purpose of this article is to synthesize the ways in which systems science methodology is applied in nutrition D&I research. Scoping review methodology involved searching 6 academic databases for full-text, peer-reviewed, English articles published between 1970 and 2020 that employed systems science within nutrition D&I research. Data extraction included intervention type, population, study aim, methods, theoretical approach, outcomes, and results. Descriptive statistics and qualitative thematic analysis followed. Thirty-four retained articles qualitatively identified benefits (successful planning and organization of complex interventions) and challenges (limited resources, trainings, and lack of knowledge) to utilizing systems science in nutrition D&I research. Future research should work toward building knowledge capacity among nutrition practitioners by increasing available trainings and resources to enhance the utilization of systems science in nutrition D&I research.

Source Citation

Ayron E Walker, Rachel A Wattick, Melissa D Olfert, The Application of Systems Science in Nutrition-Related Behaviors and Outcomes Implementation Research: A Scoping Review, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue 9, September 2021, nzab105,


Copyright The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.

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Nutrition Commons



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