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Countering diet-related diseases through competitive regional food- and physical activity clusters

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Nutrition + Exercise = Good Health

Diet and physical inactivity-related diseases pose a large economic burden to European health care. The AFRESH study proposes region-specific activities that will result in healthier products and services across Europe.


Non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs), as a result of poor diet and low physical activity, have reached epidemic proportions. Healthy eating and exercise seem to exert beneficial effects on the pathogenesis of metabolic-related disorders, heart and vascular diseases, and osteoporosis. With this in mind, the EU-funded 'Countering diet-related diseases through competitive regional food- and physical activity clusters' (AFRESH) project is working on replacing pharmaceutical approaches to prevent NCDs with a healthier lifestyle. Diet is strongly linked with the supply of products and services by the economic system and physical exercise is often region-related. The AFRESH consortium aims to design joint action plans and innovative strategies for improving such services. To this end, partners have analysed products and services in the field of nutrition and physical activity and have pinpointed regional needs. Various analyses have been performed, providing an overview of the offer and the demand in each of the participating areas as well as regional economic potential. Action plans based on innovative research and product ideas have been designed separately for children, the disadvantaged, for healthy ageing and for work-site diet. Dissemination activities including the production of multilingual leaflets, press releases and conference stands will ensure appropriate communication of the importance of a healthy diet and physical exercise in the prevention of NCDs. The AFRESH joint health strategy will have funding from public resources, enterprises and academic institutions to ensure sustainability of the action plans and finance future research. Collectively, this is envisaged to reduce the incidence of diet- and inactivity-related diseases on a regional and European level.

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