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Panel “Positive Nutrition and Health”

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On June 14th, the Embassy hosted an event dedicated to the theme of “Positive Nutrition and Health”, opened by Amb. Inigo Lambertini and curated by the Embassy’s Agrifood Attaché, Gabriella Manfredi.

A distinguished panel of luminaries, moderated by Dr Roberta Re, scientific director of Cambridge Food Science, including renowned Professor Paul Gately, Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Beckett University, Francesco Rubino, Professor of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at King’s College London, Christina Vogel,  Professor of Food Policy and Deputy Director of the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London, Daniela Martini, Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Milan, and Lorenzo Maria Donini, Full Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Sapienza University, engaged in insightful discussions, shedding light on pivotal aspects within this field.

Each panellist brought their unique perspectives and extensive knowledge to the table, enriching the conversation and delving deep into the nuances of positive nutrition and its impact on overall health.

The food choices we make play a fundamental role in shaping our physical and mental well-being. A positive nutrition approach can promote the increased consumption of foods typical of the Mediterranean Diet while a policy based on transformations across the food system will improve the sustainability of healthier dietary patterns. Shifting responsibility for healthy diets from individuals to all players across the food system is a necessary approach to address this complex problem.

Obesity is complex not just complicated and cannot be solved with simple or linear solution. It’s important to remember that Obesity is not a choice” said Paul Gately and “Obesity is not a consequence of individual “choices” as suggested by widespread misconceptions; body weight is in fact controlled by strong biological mechanisms that are not under volitional control but can be positively or negatively influenced by the food environment” said Francesco Rubino.

Once the scene was set on the Needs and the Challenges of obesity, the discussion moved on the Resources needed to address the challenge, highlighting the effectiveness of shifting the narrative to a positive message focusing on improving diet quality rather than limiting it to simplistic restrictions, “It is important to look at dietary patterns and lifestyle and move away from focusing on single nutrients/ ingredients or even single food” pinpointed Daniela Martini. “The environments in which families live make sticking to the dietary recommendations pretty difficult. We need to work across sectors to develop food policies that minimize trade-offs for health and sustainability” remarked Christina Vogel.

Lorenzo Maria Donini said: “In complex systems we need to use complex approaches and we must include all stakeholders to deliver successful strategy, collaboration among different competencies to help the creation of more effective solutions”

“The concept of positive nutrition extends far beyond the mere act of eating and is a holistic approach to our overall well-being. It underscores the importance of making informed choices and developing sustainable habits that will benefit us throughout our lives. – concluded the Ambassador. “Italy is known for its rich culinary heritage and a deep-rooted belief in the power of food to nourish both the body and the soul and its renowned Mediterranean diet has become a symbol of balance and well-being, capturing the essence of positive nutrition”