Granada — The 20th IUNS International Congress of Nutrition is being held in Spain for the first time, under the title 'Joining Cultures through Nutrition'
- Granada is hosting the IUNS 20th International Congress of Nutrition (ICN) from September 15th to 20th, the leading, most prestigious international event in the nutrition sector.
- The Spanish nutritional situation is similar to that of other developed countries in the Mediterranean area. Particularly striking is the high rate of obesity in all population groups, especially children and adolescents, partly due to a diet that increasingly differs from the Mediterranean diet, with more fast and poorly structured meals within the family. In addition, the population of Spain and southern European countries lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
- During the congress, large cohort studies (studies following population groups) will be presented, evaluating what types of food are healthiest and which ones, when consumed inadequately, can determine the presence of certain diseases.
- The congress will also discuss the importance of physical activity as a key part of the life cycle, take a closer look at the interaction between genes and nutrients and how bioactive substances present in foods such as polyphenols in oils, fermented beverages (wine, beer) fruit and vegetables, have major physiological effects
Under the title 'Joining Cultures through Nutrition', the 20th International Congress of Nutrition is being held in Spain for the first time. Over 4,000 specialists from this field will be attending from 15 to 20 September in Granada.
This event, the leading, most prestigious international event in the nutrition sector, is promoted by the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and organised by the Spanish Nutrition Society (SEN).
According to Professor Ángel Gil, President of the IUNS-ICN Congress, "This event represents the most important nutrition congress in the world. It is held every four years: it's the equivalent of the nutrition and food Olympics. The logo for the Congress is a pomegranate, seeds that spread out over a map of the world like countries, Spain being at the centre. It also represents "Granada" (the word for pomegranate in Spanish), the city where the congress is to be held."
"The congress has been designed to consider and assess advances in research and nutrition and related sciences. The ultimate goal is research into nutrition related sciences and its application to human health," indicated Prof. Alfredo Martínez, Chairman of the IUNS-ICN Scientific Committee.
The nutrition and food Olympics
The congress, which will be dealing with eight major topics related to food and nutrition, will consist of six plenary sessions, 32 special sessions, 4 debates, 100 parallel symposiums and 38 symposiums sponsored by public bodies and companies, dealing with topics such as: personalised nutrition though nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics; nutrition in different stages of life; nutrition and physical activity; specific nutrition for specific diseases; and poor hospital nutrition. It will also discuss what we know today about functional foods, including possible functional bioactive compounds, nutritional habits in different parts of the world, the value of the Mediterranean diet in preventing chronic diseases and food, education and safety policies.
"During the congress, the latest knowledge on food and nutrition produced in various fields will be discussed. We will take a closer look at how our genes interact with nutrients and how the compounds in food in turn interact with our genes. We will also be discussing the importance of nutrition throughout the different stages of life, highlighting physical activity as a key part of the life cycle," explained Prof. Martinez.
The epidemiology of nutrition will be another major topic; "large cohort studies will be presented, assessing what types of food are healthiest and which ones, when consumed inadequately, can determine the presence of certain non-transmissible chronic diseases", stated Prof. Luis Moreno, vice-chairman of the IUNS-ICN Scientific Committee.
With respect to nutrition in disease management and how it can help prevent or even cure diseases, Prof. Gil stated that "clinical and hospital nutrition are basic elements in reducing patients' hospital admission times. Food, and certain nutrients and bioactive compounds applied in isolation and used appropriately, can be a potent element in mitigating disease".
In addition, to establish specific treatments or intervention policies at the national or supranational level, Prof. Moreno stressed that "it is important to establish the population's nutritional status and how to apply given nutrients that help improve public health".
In this context, Prof. Ascensión Marcos, President of the Federation of European Nutrition Societies and Vice-President of the ICN, indicated that the nutritional situation in Spain "is similar to other developed countries in the Mediterranean area. Particularly striking is the high rate of obesity in all population groups, especially children and adolescents, partly due to a diet that increasingly differs from the Mediterranean diet, with more fast and poorly structured meals within the family. In addition, the population of both Spain and southern European countries lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle."
Another topic of particular public interest is the role of functional foods and the use of micro-organisms, so-called probiotics that can be used to modulate our gut microbiota, with beneficial effects for individuals.
"There are a number of bioactive substances in foods (such as polyphenols in oils, wines, fruit and vegetables) that have very significant physiological effects," added Prof. Gil.
Today, microbiotic study of the organism is very important; this includes not only commensal bacteria in the gut, but also in the mouth, or found in breast milk, and their relationship to newborn programming and their interaction with newborns' state of health. In many cases, microbiotic assessment can reveal a greater risk of developing obesity with a degree of susceptibility to chronic diseases, as indicated by Prof. Marcos.
Other challenges to be discussed are promoting the advance of nutrition sciences and research through global cooperation, promoting collaboration between scientists working on nutrition and disseminating information in nutrition sciences through communication technologies, particularly in Latin American countries and the Mediterranean basin.
"In fact, this meeting is not just to disseminate and construct the science but also to seek practical applications of health policies," concluded the Chairman of the IUNS-ICN Scientific Committee.
For this reason, it is important to bear in mind the multidisciplinary character of nutrition and its interaction with other areas of science in general, including food technology, food safety, medicine in all its specialities (genetics, immunology, pharmaceuticals, veterinary science, physical activity and condition, psychology and many more), without which we would lack a clear idea of what is happening in the body, stated Prof. Marcos.
Anna Lartey, from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science of the University of Ghana and IUNS elected president, highlighted that "Conferences like this provide the opportunity to learn and know about the latest information in the field. Most of the presentations being made here have not been in publications yet so participants get to know first-hand the emerging cutting-edge technologies and the interventions to focus on. These conferences are a great way to meet scientists whose work one has read about but never met. Young scientists get the opportunity to link up with relevant seasoned scientists for post-doctoral positions and to identify professors they would like to do their graduate training with."
20th IUNS International Congress of Nutrition
The 20th International Congress of Nutrition, the leading, most prestigious international event in the nutrition sector, is promoted by the International Union of Nutritional Science (IUNS) and organised by the Spanish Nutrition Society (SEN), in conjunction with the Iberoamerican Nutrition Foundation (FINUT) and the University of Granada. It is being held for the first time in Spain, in the city of Granada, from 15 to 20 September 2013, under the title 'Joining Cultures through Nutrition'.
Every four years, the IUNS promotes this congress, bringing together over 100 countries.
The 20th International Congress of Nutrition is sponsored by numerous international agencies, institutions and companies, including, as Platinum Sponsors, Abbott Nutrition Health Institute, DSM, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé Nutrition, Lactalis-Puleva and Unilever; as a Gold Sponsor, Danone; and, as Silver Sponsors, Ajinomoto, General Mills, Mondelez and Hero Institute for Infant Nutrition.
For further information, visit the official website http://icn2013.com/