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See detailHealthy food and healthy choices: a new European profile approach
Azaïs-Braesco, Véronique; Brighenti, Furio; Paoletti, Rodolfo et al

in Atherosclerosis. Supplements (2009), 10(4), 1-11

Poor or unbalanced nutrition, or both, is linked to the development of a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes mellitus, which collectively represent significant ... [more ▼]

Poor or unbalanced nutrition, or both, is linked to the development of a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes mellitus, which collectively represent significant causes of disability and premature death and impose a substantial economic burden. As a result, health authorities and regulatory bodies across Europe are implementing policies to promote healthy eating habits with the aim to attenuate the burgeoning incidence of diet-related diseases. In order to support these efforts, and within the context of a project dedicated to interrelations between nutrition and atherosclerosis, European experts convened on October 24, 2008 at a Session on “Healthy food and healthy choices: A new European profile approach,” during an international symposium in Venice, Italy. The aim of this session was to review issues relating to dietary policies, eating behaviour, food labelling, and nutritional profiling of foods. The present article highlights the key points of this session. Since eating takes place in a behavioural, social, and cultural context, a more relaxed pattern of interacting with food needs to be fostered, especially in children. Excessive regulation alone is insufficient and probably counter-productive to substantially impact population eating practices because automatic behaviour dominates our decision-making process with respect to food choices. Consumers urgently need simple, practical tools to help them make healthy food choices in a real-life setting. Front of pack labelling allows consumers to see the levels of key nutrients in foods; nevertheless more research is needed to assess how people use the different food labelling systems in real-life contexts. While policy changes including legislation and regulation can play an important role in changing behaviour, individuals need more assistance, education, and tools to help them to increase their personal responsibility for their health particularly with respect to diet. [less ▲]

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