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Monday, 13 January 2014 00:00

ceiA3 researchers collaborate with Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela on the nutritional improvement of its population

Four research papers provide actual data about the nutritional status of the population and offer suggestions for improvement in both the way to cook traditional dishes and the education and awareness of citizens.

Living in Quito or in the Galapagos Islands can affect the life of any Ecuadorian citizen in many ways.  Especially when it has to do with their health. If you live in the capital or in any of the near-coastal urban centres, you are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, hepatitis, or colon cancer, than if you live in Santa Cruz or La Española. Those are the results of the research project by the Doctor Juan Alejandro Neira. This research project was lead by Rafael Moreno Rojas and Fernando Pérez Rodríguez, both professors of the University of Cordoba and researchers of the Agrifood Campus of International Excellence ceia3. The research studied the relation between Ecuadorian food habits and their relation with diseases derived from nutritional problems. Also, the research includes a survey to analyze the nutritional status of Ecuadorian immigrant population in Andalusia and Murcia.

This project is part of an open research line of the Bromatology and Food Technology Department of the University of Cordoba, whose main priority is to improve the nutritional status in countries in process of development, taking into account the food sovereignty principles and the objectives of FAO and ceiA3 (as result of this project, several papers and a doctoral thesis were carried out). In relation to this topic, the results of three research projects were recently presented in Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

One of them is an assessment of the nutritional status of the Ecuadorian population. Ecuador is a country where nutritional guides do not exist and where the food composition tables have not been updated since sixties. The research results were made available to the Ecuadorian Government to offer improvement proposals. Also, the research of Ms. Sungey Nayne Sánchez Llaguno, PhD by University of Cordoba, has established the nutritional composition of 32 Ecuadorian traditional dishes.

On the other hand, Doctor Guillermo Molina Recio finished his doctoral thesis, directed by Rafael Moreno Rojas and Manuel Vaquero Abellán, in the framework of collaboration between the University of Cordoba and the District of Belen (Iquito, Peru). This Doctoral thesis assessed the nutritional status of the population of a peripheral urban settlement from rural origin, and the 25 dishes most consumed were referenced. The project proposed a series of changes to fight the high level of sodium and saturated fat which are the origin of the high number of hypertension cases in adult population, important levels of feminine obesity, and serious problems of malnutrition in childhood and teenagers.

Jesús Salvador Ekmeiro presented the latest work of the research group, which focuses on the design of food and pedagogic programmes to Venezuela. Contrary to Ecuador or Peru, Venezuela has nutritional studies and a specific improvement policy, however it is important to transmit this information to the population. This will be achieved through a change in the educational model for citizens.

This research and its results are an endorsement to the commitment of Professor Moreno and his colleagues for the development of a quality research related to international solidarity.

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