Report; The Presence of Prominent Specialists and Scientists at the Symposium of Nutrition
On the second day of the International Congress of Nutrition, from basic science to clinical studies, a symposium aimed at addressing nutritional challenges and establishing a nutrition network in Iran was held with the participation of members of World Health Organization, UNESCO, UNICEF and leading Iranian and global experts.
According to the news agency of International Nutrition Congress, the editor-in-chief of the International Congress of Nutrition, Dr. Majid Ghayur Mobarhan, while appreciating the presence of representatives and officials from the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, mentioned this conference as an opportunity to plan for improving the nutrition status in Iran.
Changes in lifestyle and reduced activity are among the important factors behind the onset of diseases.
Professor Seddiq, representative of the World Health Organization at the symposium, emphasized that people’s lifestyle in the world is changing and has declined versus the level of activity, and said: “Changes in the diseases’ appearances have become acquired and inappropriate nutrition is responsible for this.”
"Today, in many developing countries, contagious diseases are no longer the cause of death, but non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are the most important causes of death," he added.
He added that 80% of deaths in developing countries are due to obesity, while a quarter of Iranians are obese and obesity is a problem in childhood that needs to be addressed seriously.
Professor Sesdiq emphasized that we want to have a healthy population in the future of Iran and other countries of the world. "To this end, the establishment of a nutrition network with the presence of nutritionists can play an important role in the success of this plan.”
He emphasized: "With the cooperation of experts, we have to come up with a plan that can reduce the problem of consumption of unhealthy foods in Iran and improve the problems of overeating, obesity and inactivity.”
Professor Seddiq stated: “Iran is making progress in this regard, and this is a great pleasure. The establishment of a network of nutrition centers in the country led by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and with the collaboration of nutritionists can be an effective step towards improving nutritional status in Iran.”
Inappropriate diet is the most important factor in the incidence of diseases
Professor Braunka, director of nutrition at the World Health Organization, mentioned the main and the first risk factor in the development of diseases in the world as inappropriate diet, and said: “Mother and child malnutrition and obesity are among other important factors affecting the development of diseases in different regions of the world.”
Pointing out that malnutrition, obesity and inappropriate diet are responsible for one quarter of the world's deaths, said: "Over the past 20 years, changes in people's lifestyles and increased food in addition to reducing fruits and vegetables’ consumption have caused increased obesity in the world.”
Professor Brunka suggested that the recommended level of fruit and vegetable consumption is at least 400 grams a day, which many people in the world use less than this amount, and consumption of processed meat, sugar and beverages has increased.
The World Health Organization's Director of Nutrition said: "In order to address this challenge, the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted the Second Nutrition Conference in 2014 with the goal of ending hunger and improving the nutrition of the world's people.”
Professor Brunca noted: “In this regard, a plan has been developed at the World Health Organization (WHO) and by 2030, global nutritional problems, including malnutrition and the use of unhealthy foods, will be completely solved.”
"Good nutrition is an important part of the plan to reduce mortality from diseases," he said. "Nutrition is also beneficial in other areas such as academic success, personal performance, etc.”
Professor Braunca mentioned the development of educational programs, the improvement of nutrition interventionist health systems, investing in appropriate nutrition, and strengthening governments, among strategies for reaching the goals of 2030s.
He highlighted the removal of high-trans fats, reduced consumption of sugar and salt, and raised taxes on harmful food companies among other programs of the organization.
Professor Braunca said: "In addition to these programs, mothers should be supported during breastfeeding and plans must be made to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.”
Reviewing WHO Regional Policies to Promote Healthy Diet
Professor Ayub, representative of the World Health Organization, spoke at the symposium on the WHO regional policy to promote healthy diet and regarding nutrition challenges in the EMR region.
"Breastfeeding in these areas is 29 percent lower than the global average, as well as the lack of micronutrients such as Zinc, vitamin A, B, D, and Calcium," he said, pointing to the nutritional status in the eastern Mediterranean.
Stating that 53 percent of the deaths in the eastern Mediterranean region now are due to non-communicable diseases, he said: "More than 43 million people in the area suffer from diabetes and obesity rate is more than the global average."
Professor Ayub emphasized: “In these areas, salt, fat and sugar consumption is also higher than the global average.”
"In this regard, the World Health Organization is trying to change food systems and improve nutrition in these regions.”
Representative of the World Health Organization pointed to the role of mass media in changing people's lifestyles and said: "According to a survey, 62% of unhealthy propaganda advertisements are made through the media, which should be designed in a coherent plan.”
He said: "Currently, almost all regions of the world consume a lot of sugar and the main goal is to reduce sugar consumption.".
Professor Ayub added: “Many countries have lowered their consumption of sugar, and it is planned that by 2025 that the consumption of healthy foods will replace unsafe foods in different parts of the world.”
Focus on Malnutrition Prevention and Control in Iran by 2025
At this symposium, Director General of Nutrition Improvement Office of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, mentioned providing adequate resources and healthy food as one of the major strategies of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. According to the Ministry of Health, prevention and control of malnutrition will be pursued in Iran by 2025.
Dr. Zahra Abdollahi, mentioned increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, reducing salt and fat intake, achieving safe and healthy food, reducing environmental and agricultural risk factors, labeling food and monitoring public places as plans to achieve the goals planned by 2025.
Stating that various policies are in place to control and improve the nutritional status of Iran, and various committees have been formed under the supervision of the president and the Minister of Health, she said: "In the Iranian nutritional strategy, prevention and control of the birth of the low-weight baby, reduced salt and fat intake, improved nutritional status, and increased fruit and vegetable consumption of at least 5 units per day are pursued.”
Director General of the Nutrition Improvement Community of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education pointed to a situation of malnutrition in Iran and said: “According to studies, the birth rate of infants weighing less than two kilograms and 500 grams and malnutrition has decreased in Iran.”
Dr. Abdullahi added: “In 2011 and 2012, the rate of anemia in Iran was high, and with the measures taken, we are already seeing an improvement.”
She mentioned the implementation of the iodine deficiency prevention program as another measure taken in Iran, one of the leading countries in this field.
Director General of the Nutrition Improvement Office of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education pointed to the implementation of the National Nutrition Program in Iran and said: "In this regard, Iran has been successful in decreasing the weight of children under 5 years of age, reducing Zinc deficiency, low birth-weight and iodine deficiency.”
Dr. Abdullahi emphasized: “Although there has been good progress in improving malnutrition in the country, we still face challenges in the field of nutrition in Iran.”
Zinc deficiency in children under two years of age, vitamin A deficiency in pregnant women, vitamin D deficiency, and increased childhood obesity are among nutritional problems in the country.
Dr. Abdullahi said: "Today, 60 percent of the adult age group are obese or overweight in the country, and this number reaches 70 percent in some provinces."
She added that high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension are among the other problems caused by unhealthy nutrition in the country, which is increasing due to changes in lifestyle.
Director General of the Society for Nutrition Improvement at the Ministry of Health and Medical Education added: “Despite all the progress, Iran still faces major challenges in the field of nutrition, and serious decisions need to be made in this regard, and plans to address the lack of nutrients as well as reduction of intake of salt and sugar and improving malnutrition must be designed.”