The head of Portugal’s Order of Nutritionists, Alexandra Bento, said that the food scenario in Portugal “is catastrophic” and that its effects are endangering the long-term ability of the National Health Service to cope with increasing problems caused by poor nutrition.
“We have a prodigious food tradition, Mediterranean food, we have excellent health professionals”, namely nutritionists, “but we have a food scenario that is catastrophic and that is jeopardising the sustainability of the National Health Service,” said Alexandra Bento.
“Non-communicable chronic diseases are the diseases of today. People die of cardiovascular diseases, of diabetes and cancer – all of them are closely related to poor eating habits.”
Alexandra Bento also noted that although there is much talk about the importance of food for health, social inequalities affect nutrition, “Those who have more schooling have more food and nutritional literacy, they eat better and they have better health.”
On the other side of the coin, those who have “lower education, those from a lower socio-cultural and economic level, have more difficulty organising their food and soon will have poorer health,” said Bento.
The two day nutrition congress this week, with the theme, ‘A Commitment to Health,’ will be a great moment for nutritionists and health professionals.
“Food is an unavoidable issue if we want better health in our country and that is why we have shaped this congress with themes that we consider to be very strong,” opening with a panel discussion on “public health policies in the area of ??food.”
The Centro Cultural de Belém will host 500 national and international nutrition experts who will discuss issues such as modern public health, conflicts between nutrition, health and the food sector, clinical nutrition, reforms in the NHS and the valuation of the profession of nutritionist.
The congress has no sponsorship as the Order of Nutritionists seeks to maintain its impartiality.
“It is obvious that collaboration between nutritionists and industry leads to great progress both in terms of food innovation and the promotion of better health, but it is essential that this relationship is always open and subject to complete independence and independence,” said Alexandra Bento.
The above content produced by swissinfo.ch is not intended for commercial use and may not be republished by third parties either wholly or in part.