9th December, 2013 – The joint annual conference of the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians and the DIETS2 Thematic Network’ is an occasion which brings together the representatives of the European National Dietetic Associations, the Higher Education Institutions and other nutrition-related stakeholders.

The 7th EFAD-DIETS Conference, 8-9th November 2013 was dedicated to the non-communicable diseases and the role of dietitians in the prevention of these diseases. The non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and obesity (as one of the main risk factors of these) are among the main leading causes of death. The rate of their prevalence is unstoppably increasing, which shows that more integrated approach to the nutrition education and food supply is needed.

The conference explored how the dietetic profession can contribute to Health 202, as well as the role of dietitians in preventing and treating NCDs using evidence based practice.

The key note speaker, Trudy Wijnhoven, Technical Officer Nutrition Surveillance, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Programme, WHO European Region defined the priority areas regarding the role of dietitians:
1) Create healthy food and drink environments and encourage physical activity for all population groups.

2) Promote the health gains of a healthy diet throughout the life-course, especially for the most vulnerable.

3) Reinforce health systems to promote health and to provide services for NCDs.

4) Support surveillance, monitoring, evaluation and research of the population’s nutritional status and behaviours.

5) Strengthen governance, alliances and networks and empower communities to engage in health promotion and prevention efforts.

Anne de Looy, EFAD President and Professor of Dietetics Plymouth University (England), highlighted the role of dietitians –the health professionals who could deliver reliable nutritional advice – in the contribution to the WHO European Region Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2014 –2020.

The conference facilitated meetings of European Specialist Dietetic Networks for diabetes, obesity, oncology, ageing, public health and food service, which gave opportunity for sharing experiences and discussing the best practices.

After 3 years of productive work the DIETS2 workpackages presented their achievements as well as the workshops of the second day of the Conference were dedicated to their main topics: the European Advanced Dietetic Competences, the Dietetic Research, the Standardised Language and the Lifelong Learning.

This year students were even more involved in the Conference by giving them the chance to do networking and exploring collaborative research projects at the Students’ meeting and workshops.

The 7th EFAD-DIETS Conference was a good example for demonstrating, that dietitians all over Europe can come together and share experiences to improve the health status of the European population.

Non-communicable diseases – the dietitians’ response to health 2020 (pdf file)

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