Agri-food for Healthy Aging (A-HA)

Agri-food for Healthy Aging (A-HA) is a collaborative research group created through the efforts of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA), the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, and MaRS Landing. By exploring linkages between agriculture, food, nutrition and human health, A-HA aims to realize innovative opportunities for Ontario’s agri-food and health sectors to improve health and well-being of older adults.

Practical Applications

  • Improving older adults’ nutritional status and enhancing their mealtime experience.
  • Creating partnerships that will help to realize the links between agriculture, food, nutrition and healthy aging with agri-food and health sector stakeholders.
  • Providing health professionals & caregivers with information about the nutritional health and well-being of older adults.
  • Promoting access to existing, and develop new, health agri-food options (i.e. functional foods) that meet the nutritional and sensory needs of older adults.

Project Highlights

  • Exploring the ‘mealtime experience’ for older adults, including families and individuals living with dementia.
  • Building connections and sharing knowledge with the agri-food, nutrition and health sectors.
  • Incorporating functional ingredients (e.g. Omega 3 fatty acids) into foods served in retirement and long -term care.
  • Exploring the consumption and understanding of functional foods in older adults.
    Improving texture-modified foods to ensure they meet the nutritional and sensory needs of older adults.
  • Promoting the use of local foods for in-house production of pureed food.

Click here to visit the A-HA website and see a list of current and completed research projects.


A-HA is unique in that it has 4 core research scientists who hold expertise in areas of applied nutrition and dietetics, nutritional sciences, food science and human health:

Theme Leader/Chair
Dr. Heather Keller, PhD, RD, FDC (Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition and Aging, University of Waterloo).

Research Scientists
Dr. Lisa Duizer, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Food Science, University of Guelph).
Dr. Alison Duncan, PhD, RD (Professor, Human Health & Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph).
Dr. Ken Stark, PhD (Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Lipidomics & Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo).

Program Manager
Hilary Dunn, MSc (Schlegel-UW RIA)

Additional Information