Topic 1 Introduction

  • A healthy diet can lay the foundations of healthy development and prevent malnutrition.
  • An unhealthy dietary pattern, along with limited physical activity account for a significant proportion of deaths and poor quality of life worldwide.
  • Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and to prevent various health conditions
  • A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and wholegrains and poor of sugar and saturated fats can prolong life and prevent most non-communicable diseases, notably diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and obesity. It can even lead to higher educational attainments!
  • Developing a healthy dietary pattern from an early age is crucial!
  • Most of European countries have set specific guidelines tailor-made for their population taking into account apart from the evidence-based research on nutrition and health, the cultural particularities and local traditions.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) has selected the available dietary guidelines in Europe. These resources can be found here.
  • The national dietary guidelines for infancy, childhood and adolescence of the countries were the Dr.PED-Chef project are summarized here:
  • Although the principles of a healthy nutrition are similar across all ages, the nutritional needs differ according to the child developmental stage.