The Italian Embassy in Santiago chose “Diet and Health” as the theme of the 6th Italian Cuisine Week in the World with a view to promoting a healthier lifestyle in Chile, which has the highest percentage of overweight or obese adults among the OECD Member Countries.
The Week’s programme of events focused on the “social” value of diets, interpreted as the right for all to a healty diet. However, celebrating the Italian cuisine was also meant to help reducing what is a very widespread perception in Chile, i.e. that the Mediterranean Diet is linked to an elitist lifestyle.
The Week featured the second edition of the conference entitled “Dieta y salud: un camino chileno hacia la Dieta Mediterranea” (“Diet and Health: the Chilean Road towards the Mediterranean Diet”). Organized by the Santiago offices of the Italian Trade Agency – ICE, the event was very much appreciated by the representatives of the Chilean Government and the FAO. Daniela Godoy, Executive Secretary of the National Programme “Choose to live healthy” (“Elige vivir sano”) recalled the necessity to include “a more balanced, sustainable and correct diet” in the country’s public policies. Ricardo Rapallo, Food Security Officer at the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Carribean in Santiago, said that an effort to go back to Chile’s Mediterranean roots should be further supported. All the speakers agreed on the importance of education in schools and in the workplace in order to help change the country’s eating habits. Success stories should be a source of inspiration, as in the case of the Municipality of Parma.
Furthermore, addressing the question of how the road towards the Mediterranean Diet can become economically viable, it was said that developing local productions and markets can favour a drop in prices and therefore the accessability to a healthier type of diet. The hope is that the growing cooperation with Italy may promote high-quality cooperative forms: a commitment that will be vital for the #ItaliaconChile2020/Vivereallitaliana programme that aims to bring the Mediterranean Diet in numerous cities and peripheral areas of Chile in 2020 through an integrated promotion activity.