Barcelona Hosts First World Congress on Public Health Nutrition

Barcelona, 26 may (EFEAGRO). – The city of Barcelona will be host to the First World Congress of Public Health Nutrition from 28-30 September with more than 1000 attendees expected, including scientists, health professionals, government officials and NGO representatives who together will try and seek solutions for issues such as obesity and malnutrition.

The President of the Congress, Lluis Serra Majem, epidemiologist and nutritionist, stated that the aim of the Congress is to tackle epidemiological evidence from various viewpoints in order to generate “debate and controversy”. This would avoid what happens in most congresses, which in his view, is simply the presentation of issues without looking for solutions.

Serra pointed out that around 170 million children around the world have nutritional problems, and in parallel, there are 350 million adults with serious obesity problems. 60% of all deaths are related to poor eating habits, overweight and sedentary lifestyles.

He added that in Spain and in other countries obesity rates have increased more than 100% in the last twenty years, especially in males.

Serra indicated that the Congress, which coincides with the VII Congress of the Spanish Community Nutrition Society (SENC), will be the launching point to create an International Association of Public Health Nutrition that would work along the same areas of interest as the Spanish organisation.

In this sense, he pointed out that SENC has made efforts towards this collaborative orientation for the past several years, but with little success in reaching consensus among other countries that have had similar experiences. This is due to the fact that “science is in constant evolution and the only way of exchanging views is through debate and reflection”.
He highlighted the work that the Organising Committee is doing to obtain institutional scholarships so that representatives from developing countries, who have serious problems with malnutrition, will be able to attend.

Serra also emphasised that four parallel precongress workshops will be held from 25-27 of September: “Migration and minorities: overcoming cultural barriers” in Figueres; “Functional Foods” in Sitges; “Epidemiological methods is estimating food consumption”, in Reus and “Nutritional anemias” in Barcelona. There will also be a Children’s PreCongress on September 27 on obesity prevention with a Decalogue of Conduct that around 2000 participating schoolchildren will elaborate themselves.

Another feature is the participation of persons affiliated with key international organisations such as FAO, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and the World Food Programme, among others, of whom Serra highlighted the involvement of the Chilean Ricardo Uauy, President of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, and a “key person in the WHO strategy for physical activity, nutrition and obesity”.

Other key participants include Nevin Scrimshaw, from the USA, “one of the founding fathers of nutrition in the world”; Walter Willett, Harvard University; Noel Solomons from Guatamala and Juan Rivera from Mexico, Public Health experts as well as Phillip James from Great Britain and Michael Gibney from Ireland, who are experts in obesity and metabolism.

The congress website is where details can be found on all Congress activities as well as the PreCongress workshops. EFEAGRO

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