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Healthy Eating Survey

The results of the Healthy Eating Survey are now available in the Advice & Research section of the website.

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Measures for Healthy Lifestyles in Slovenia

Health enables and ensures a quality life and it is a basic source of development of each society.

Health is primarily a responsibility of each individual, while the Slovene government is responsible for cooperating with various professions and sciences to create conditions where people can lead healthy lifestyles. The Slovene government provides for health safety with forming, confirming and executing policies, strategies and programs of health promotion.

This program also includes the strategy of health safety and health improvement with movement. The strategy of Slovene´s government in the area of physical activities for health is expressed in planning and executing measures and activities of the state and cooperating with various organizations of civil society which encourage and strengthen qualitative and healthy diet and regular physical activity of the citizens of Slovenia.

The main goal of the Strategy of Slovene government in the area of physical activities is encouraging all kinds of regular activities and exercising for health. Healthy diet and recommended forms and range of physical activities for maintaining health create synergic health effects and are an important factor in preventing diseases, early death and invalidity and increase the life quality of Slovene citizens.

OKkio alla SALUTE: decreases in child obesity, but still a serious situation

News from the Ministry of Health – Italy

From 2008 to present the number of overweight and obese children aged 8-9 years has slightly decreased, but Italy remains at the top in Europe for weight excess in children. Among children, some wrong food habits and sedentary lifestyles are still too common, even though children doing physical activities have slightly increased.

This is the picture taken in 2012 by the surveillance system “Okkio alla SALUTE”, promoted by the Ministry of Health within the strategic program “Guadagnare salute – Rendere facili le scelte salutari” (Gaining health – Facilitating healthy choices). The detection involved 46.492 children in 2.623 third grades.

The 2012 data show that 22,1% of children aged 8-9 are overweight when in 2008/09 they were 23,2% (-1,1%), and that 10,2% are obese while in 2008/09 they were 12% (- 1,8%). Overall, then, in 2012 the 32,3% of third grade children is in a condition of weight excess (-2,9% compared to the first detection).

The highest percentages about overweight and obesity were collected in the Central and Southern regions: in Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia e Basilicata the weight excess affects over 40% of the sample, while in Sardegna, Valle d’Aosta e Trentino-Alto Adige the weight excess affects less than 25%.

Food education keeps being fundamental: among children there are still too many habits that can lead to weight increase, especially when concomitant. Particularly, 9% of children skip breakfast and 31% have a non-proper breakfast (that is unbalanced in terms of carbohydrates and proteins); 67% have a too heavy mid-morning snack; 21% of parents declare that their children don’t eat daily fruits and/or vegetables; 43% consume regularly sweetened and/or carbonated drinks.

Data about physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles show a small improvement, though remaining high: 16% of children practice a sport just for an hour a week or less, compared to 25% in 2008/09; 17% didn’t do any physical activity the day before the investigation (in 2008/09 it was 26%); 42% have a TV in their bedroom (-6%), 36% watch TV  and/or play with video-games for more than 2 hours a day (-11%) and just one in four children goes to school on foot or by bike.

These findings underline the need to invest even more in prevention to reduce inequality, and health and social costs.

Nordic walking – a great way to exercise!

Nordic Walking puts in motion approximately 90% of the body muscles.

The help of sticks considerably reduces fatigue, sharing it over the whole body. You can rediscover walking with four points of contact on the ground in the city, in the countryside, in the mountains and by the sea.

Nordic Walking is recommended for all, regardless of age and physical condition because it:

• restores posture and coordination

• improves flexibility and joint mobility

• increases calorie consumption up to 45% compared to normal walking

• boosts aerobic resistance by increasing heart rate (average 10/17 beats per minute) with respect to the normal-walking

• induces increased muscle tone, engaging almost all of the musculature

• reduces muscle tension in the shoulders and neck

• increases the metabolism of the spine intervertebral discs facilitating the prevention and treatment of back problems

• strengthens the immune and cardiovascular system

• is recommended to complete rehabilitation phases of the lower limbs and fast recovery of mobility

• provides out-door activity which has anti-stress and anti-depressive effects.

Why not give it a go!

 

Let’s dispel some myths about food and nutrition!

This thought provoking post comes from our Italian Partners. How many did you get right?

Fasting makes you lose weight   FALSE

Weight lost through fasting involves minimal loss of fat mass, while it involves mainly lean body mass and water, so it is easy to gain that weight again. It takes time to lose weight, and it is necessary to follow a varied diet, eating a little of everything in the correct proportions, keeping the balance between the various macro and micro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, protein, fibre, minerals) and increasing energy expenditure with constant physical exercise.

Seed oil is more caloric than olive oil   FALSE

The calories of every fat are the same: 9 kcal/gram. Seed oils, in general, are less flavoured than the olive oil, which is an oil extracted from a fruit, so it also has protective characteristics. Extra virgin olive oil is an extremely healthy and genuine, with a high digestibility. It differs from other oils as it bears high temperatures more than any other. It’s absolutely the most suitable for frying, as it preserves its properties without deterioration, resisting temperatures up to 180°C.

If you chew slowly, you eat less   TRUE

The information about being sated takes 15 minutes to reach the brain starting from the stomach. If you chew slowly, you eat less.

Replacing bread with breadsticks helps you to lose weight   FALSE

Bread is made of water, flour, salt and yeast. Breadsticks and crackers contain also fats (vegetable, lard) and so they have more calories (from 350 to 450 kcal/100g), while more dietetic breads, like wholemeal bread and hard wheat bread (bread from Puglia), have respectively 224kcal/100g – 289kcal/100g). In addition to this, bread satiates much more, also thanks to the great presence of fibre, especially in wholemeal bread.

If I don’t have breakfast, I have saved many calories   FALSE

In the morning your body needs to regain what it has consumed while sleeping, and it needs fresh and immediate energy to face the day. All scientific research agrees that, according to facts, skipping breakfast is a wrong habit, often connected to situations of overweight and obesity.

Alcohol has more calories than sugar   TRUE

Alcohol has 7kcal in 1 gram, while sugar has just 4kcal in 1 gram.

Wine is recommended in diets   FALSE

Any alcoholic drink, besides giving ‘empty’ calories (without any nutrient, apart from sugars), implements the production of gastric juices which improve the sense of hunger.

All fibre is the same  FALSE

There are two main types of fibre: insoluble and soluble. The first ones are in wheat bran, in dried fruit and in many vegetables: they are so called because they don’t dissolve in water, so they can pass almost unchanged through the gastrointestinal tract increasing stool bulk (this is recommended for those who suffer from constipation). Soluble fibres are in oat, barley, beans and in some fruits: they dissolve in water creating, in the gastrointestinal tract a gelatinous material, that slows absorption. Moreover, if consumed regularly, they reduce the level of cholesterol LDL (the ‘bad’ one).

Frozen vegetables contain the same nutritional values of the fresh ones   TRUE

Frozen vegetables perfectly keep their nutritional qualities, and sometimes even more than fresh vegetables. During the packaging process, vegetables lose a small part of their vitamins and minerals, but it is a minimal part if compared to the properties lost by fresh vegetables during a few days if not frozen. To keep their nutritional qualities it is important to:

  • Avoid breaking the cold chain using coolbags for transport.
  • When unfrozen, they should be consumed immediately, within a maximum of 4 days. You mustn’t refreeze them, also because they would lose most of their nutritional properties.
  • The ideal way to cook frozen vegetables without making them lose their nutritional properties is to cook them in a pan, or steamed, without unfreezing them.
  • If the package, when you buy them, presents frost or moisture on the surface, it means that the cold chain has been broken.

Wholemeal bread has less calories than normal bread   FALSE

They have the same amount of calories. Wholemeal bread is better because it contains more fibre.

Eating ‘light’ foods makes you lose weight   FALSE

Light foods are foods with a lower amount of calories because they have been processed to subtract fats and sugars, but in their place artificial additives were added, which often are not the best for health.

It is difficult not to believe that light foods can help us to lose weight. But for some psychological mechanisms, on the contrary, we may eat bigger quantities of light foods than we would do with normal food, as shown by many researches. Moreover, light foods hide thinner psychological traps. In fact, our body reacts to food in ways we cannot be conscious of. Brain ‘remembers’ the nutritional capacity of food, and according to its expectations it rules the sense of hunger.