Nutrition and Health International Youth Challenge
Improving the health of the population through changing the lifestyle is a main challenge for the future. Did you know that 68% of the deaths are related to our lifestyle? Overweigh, obesity and diabetes have become one of the global problems nowadays and finding better treatments to minimize mortality associated is a priority. In addition, with a growing world population, producing sufficient, healthy and sustainable foods, through a chain of environmentally friendly food systems, has become one of the biggest challenges for the coming years. Do you want to contribute finding solutions?
In this project we’ll work with 3 main blocs:
- Nutrition and diabetes.
- Sustainable diets for a healthy population and a healthy planet
- Promoting health and eating habits. The cuisine as the best tool to eat better
1- Nutrition and diabetes
August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS)
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by hyperglycemia as a result of a total lack of insulin (type 1, T1D) or relative insulin deficiency combined with defective in insulin action (Type 2, T2D). It is estimated that 422 million adults have diabetes, which accounts for an 8.5 % of the global population older than 18 years. There’s great interest in reducing the health and economic impact of diabetes by promoting preventive measures and lifestyle changes that can revert the growing trends in diabetes incidence and prevalence. Additionally, finding better treatments to minimize morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes is also a priority.
The project will be distributed in two parts: we will begin with a theoretical session in Món Sant Benet with the presentation of 2 case reports, one of a patient with T1D and the other of a patient with T2D. We will use these examples to provide students with an overview of how we diagnose diabetes, the differences between T1D and T2D and the current therapeutic strategies to treat this disease and their limitations. After this introductory session, there will be the three additional sessions: (1) Nutrition as a lifestyle intervention to treat diabetes (2) The pancreatic beta cell: why it loses its ability to secrete insulin in T2D and (3) Can we make cells that produce insulin in the laboratory?
This theoretical part will be followed by an experimental part in the Laboratory of Diabetes and Obesity of IDIBAPS.
2- Sustainable diets for a healthy population and a healthy planet
University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia
Did you know that food production and consumption have an impact on the environment? Moreover, what we eat also have an impact on our health and life quality. With an increasing world population, producing enough, healthy and sustainable food, through an environmentally friendly food system chain has become one of the biggest challenges for the next years.
Defining sustainable diets is difficult and complex and includes a variety of concepts such as biodiversity, health, food security, eco-friendly, fair trade, cultural heritage, skills, local, seasonal, equity, well-being, accessibility and food and nutrient needs among others. During this project, you will learn how to develop a more sustainable and healthy diet through the food system chain.
You will be introduced to the complex structure of sustainable food systems and healthy diets. On the one hand, you will learn from experts about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and healthy eating and its social and cultural heritage. On the other hand, you will learn about the environmental impact of food production and consumption from farm to fork.
On the project, we will combine some field, laboratory, kitchen and computer work, to try to cover all the steps of the food system chain so be ready to be a farmer a chef and a scientist all at once!
Your research will focus on analyzing the environmental impact and nutritional content of a meal. First, we will do a field trip to analyze the soil quality of a veggie garden. After harvesting some veggies, we will analyze its nutritional content at the laboratory at the University of Vic with advanced technology. Third, we will cook a Mediterranean healthy and environmentally friendly meal, following the protein flip concept from the University of Harvard and the Culinary Institute of America in the teaching kitchen of the University of Vic. Finally, we will analyze the GHGe of the meal.
The aim of the project is that you will be able to develop your own healthy and eco-friendly meal and design its own food system chain. Through the process, you will have to detect its strength and weaknesses from a nutritional and environmental perspective and find solutions to the challenges you detect. At the end of the project, you will understand the complexity of food systems and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach when solving scientific questions.
3- Promoting healthy and eating habits. The cuisine as the best tool to eat better.
Do you know that the 68% of global deaths relate to our lifestyle? Do you know that 1 out of 3 children less than 11 years-old is overweight or has obesity? And, current overweight teenagers have 70% chances of becoming overweight adults? Physical activity and eating habits play an essential role to make a positive change in the society and the cuisine is our way to make it happen. So, you have the chance to make that challenge an opportunity to design feasible, innovative and implementable strategies to promote healthy habits.
These sessions will work on promoting a healthy lifestyle and eating habits through the cuisine as a tool to eat better, also considering food restrictions caused by specific illnesses.
Workshops will include theoretical and practical activities to contextualize the problems and factors that influence the development of non-communicable diseases, and the existing tools to promote healthy eating habits. We’ll use the working method applied in Alicia, where chefs and scientists work together. There will be a show cooking with different balanced dishes to increase the consumption of some food groups and reduce others less healthy to exemplify that the best option to eat better is cooking.
The participants are going to learn, by attractive and interactive workshops, which are the specific nutritional requirements and culinary responses to help patients, suffering from certain diseases, to eat better. In the first session, there will tackle the nutrition in people suffering from diabetes type-2 and how is their own food managed to follow a healthy diet by an easy and practical way while enjoying the food. In the second session, we are going to deepen in feeding when cancer’s treatment and how it varies depending on the location and the tumor typology to maintain the finest health condition.
The Nutrition and Health program has some differences from the other projects carried out in BIYSC. In the Nutrition and Health program the students will work throughout the day in Món Sant Benet, unlike the BIYSC they will work in the research centers. In the Nutrition and Health program the students will share the sessions with three different centers and will be coordinated directly from Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation, unlike the BIYSC students will work for 12 days with the same research center and with the same scientists who coordinate the specific program. In the Nutrition and Health program participants will live mostly in Món Sant Benet, unlike the BIYSC who will live in Barcelona.
A maximum of 25 students will be selected for this project.
Life sciences, biomedicine, health sciences