3. Nutrition & Healthy Eating
The relationship between nutrition and health is clear. The quality and quantity of food we eat influences our risk of two main causes of morbidity and mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Coronary vascular diseases account for approximately 30% of all deaths each year – equating to approximately 17.3 million people worldwide.
In general, lifestyle related diseases (referred to as non-communicable diseases (NCDs)) are the leading causes of deaths worldwide; more people die from NCDs than from all other causes combined. Nutrition related issues, in particular obesity, are among the key public health threats facing all countries, including UK and ROI. Food poverty has emerged as an issue of policy debate in Ireland in recent times. Defined as the inability to have an adequate and nutritious diet due to issues of affordability or accessibility; food poverty is a complex issue with many health and social dimensions interlinked. Given safefood’s all-island remit, it is uniquely placed to make a valuable contribution in tackling obesity, food poverty and other nutrition related issues on an all-island basis.
While safefood‘s research in terms of nutrition and healthy eating is not necessarily expansive, it nonetheless aims to contribute to policy development. The research ranges from assessing the nutritional status of specific population groups to understanding people’s knowledge and understanding of relevant topics such as portion size. It is used to underpin safefood’s communication activities, particularly direct marketing to consumers.