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Facts on Diet and Nutrition: GreenFacts publishes its 25th Study

How can improved eating habits and increased physical activity help reduce the risk of chronic diseases?

This is the subject of GreenFacts’ 25th Study, Diet and Nutrition, which is now published on The Study is a summary of a joint WHO/FAO (World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) expert consultation titled “Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases”. GreenFacts published its first Study, on the topic of Climate Change ( in July 2002. Since then, GreenFacts has stepped up its publication rate to one Study per month, pursuing its mission of bringing complex scientific consensus reports on health and the environment to the reach of non-specialists. “Institutions can facilitate the communication of research results in many ways” writes the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the proceedings of a workshop on endocrine disruptors. “One example is the site maintained by […] which presents interlinked versions of complex reports (e.g. World Health Organization documents) at the executive summary, interpretive summary, and full report levels.” Digest of the joint WHO/FAO expert consultation on Diet and Nutrition As a result of changes in the way we eat and live, some chronic diseases are increasingly affecting developed and developing countries. Indeed, diet-related chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dental disease, and osteoporosis, are the most common cause of death in the world and present a great burden for society. Dietary factors are estimated to account for nearly a third of cancers in industrialised countries, and the number of cases of diabetes in the world, currently around 150 million, is expected to double by 2025. Such diseases are largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle, that is to say the combination of regular physical activity with food variety and social interaction. Factors such as being breastfed, regular physical exercise, and a balanced diet will reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, whereas a sedentary lifestyle as well as a high intake of fat and drinks containing added sugars will increase the risk. For a balanced diet, the report recommends that, on average, the total fat intake should represent 15 to 30% of total dietary energy intake, and that free sugars such as those found in soft drinks should account for less than 10% of total energy intake. Furthermore, the report suggests that at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day should be part of the diet. Recommendations for physical activity are a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) every day, while a higher level of physical activity can provide even greater benefits.




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