Healthy Eating for All: The Prolepsis Institute for World Food Day

October 15, 2019

“Universal access to healthy nutrition with emphasis on vulnerable groups, in order to achieve the goal of "zero hunger" (Zero Hunger) by 2030.” This is the message the Food and Agriculture Organization of OHE (FAO) is promoting, occasioned by World Day of Nutrition and which is practically adopted by the Prolepsis Institute, with the design of policies and the implementation of intervention programs to promote the health of the population.

Today, more than ever, the Prolepsis Institute emphasizes the need of awareness and change in our lifestyle in relation to our daily eating habits. That means to develop the reasoning with which the daily selection of foods we consume, will be a shield for our health, will take into account the need for adequate nutrition, and will not burden the environment.

The National Dietary Guidelines designed by the Prolepsis Institute and adopted by the Ministry of Health are largely consistent with the nutrition standard proposed by the EAT - Lancet Committee, in the context of a sustainable food production and consumption system. According to the EAT - Lancet Committee of 37 leading scientists from 16 countries, global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes should double by 2050 and food consumption such as red meat and sugar should decrease more than 50%. The National Dietary Guidelines which were developed in 2014 for the Greek population aim to promote dietary habits that are in line with the Mediterranean standard, which is documented as protective of the environment. It is distinguished for its high consumption of plant-based foods such as fruits,vegetables, whole grains, the restricted consumption of red meat, and the occasional consumption of sugar-containing products. In this regard, the team of National Dietary Guidelines, recognizing the value of traditional Greek nutrition not only for a healthy body but also for a healthy planet, recommends its adoption, in line with the indicative nutritional model proposed by the EAT - Lancet Commission.

We add more vegetables and fruits to our diet, we avoid foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, we learn to read product labels,  we respect the food itself, the producers, and the land. We incorporate traditional Greek diet into our daily lives, which has beneficial effects on maintaining and promoting health, while at the same time it is a standard to ensure environmental protection.

At the same time, through the Program on Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition, DIATROFI, the Prolepsis Institute is implementing, for the ninth consecutive school year, the FAO's request for children that belong in vulnerable populations to have access to healthy food. Now the daily distribution of healthy meals by the DIATROFI Program  is being extended to 11 additional schools. The Program is being implemented in schools that are in great need, by offering milk, healthy pastries, and fruit to thousands of students every morning. This is the key to go against the epidemic of childhood obesity that plagues the population and, in particular, the most vulnerable groups that are often led to unhealthy diet choices.

The DIATROFI Program is implemented with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation as Founding Donor, AB Vassilopoulos as Golden Donor and with the valuable assistance of organizations, companies and hundreds of fellow citizens from Greece and abroad, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. Since 2012, a total of more than 15 million meals have been provided in 690 schools and approximately 110,000 students throughout Greece.