A tavola nel Mediterraneo: una dieta, molte culture
At table, in Mediterranean countries: one diet, many cultures
Some peoples are more than others particularly lucky with food, especially those living in the Mediterranean area. Nutritionists worldwide identified their diet as the fittest for keeping good health and preventing obesity and many chronic degenerative diseases.
Food education has a central role in the prevention of the above mentioned diseases and educational intervention must begin early since food habits and the future state of health are determined in childhood.
Analysis of Mediterranean peoples’ food habits and lifestyle showed some common “factors”: high nutritional values of everyday food, long life expectancy and low rate of chronic and cardiovascular diseases.
However, it is not possible to look at Mediterranean diet as a single nutritional feature, it cannot be framed in a unique picture, regardless of the history, geography, religion and culture of the different countries bordering this sea.
The project has been realized by the “Sapienza” University in Rome and by the Department of Preventive Medicine of Migration, Tourism and Tropical Dermatology - San Gallicano in Rome. It was addressed to the children attending the kindergarten and the first cycle of primary school and aimed at promoting the Mediterranean diet for its nutritional qualities and spreading the knowledge of the food culture of Mediterranean countries.
To open our “mind” to new knowledge and our “palate” to new flavours can be the key to overcome distrust and fear originating from a supposed diversity.
Every kindergarten and primary school received a folder containing:
- An educational and scientific booklet on the Mediterranean diet and the nutritional aspects of the different food cultures. It was written in a simple language and enriched by numerous images;
- “The interactive pyramid”: an educational game that pupils were supposed to colour, build and fill in with stickers.
In order to make the above mentioned educational devices usable for intercultural and food education projects, a three-session course for Roman teachers and nutritionists was organized on:
- Nutritional and cultural aspects of the Mediterrean countries;
- Presentation of the project: pedagogic suggestions;
- Considerations and methodology for a conscious consumption education.
During the courses training aid, a bibliography and a webography for further elaboration were supplied.
The seminars and the themes dealt with registred remarkable participation and interest.