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BGU Hosts Nutrition Conference

BGU Hosts Nutrition Conference

April 12, 2019

Medical Research

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and The Israel Institute joined together to sponsor a week-long conference called “Colors of Nutrition.”

Prof. Walter Willett

The keynote speaker was Harvard University’s Prof. Walter Willett, internationally renowned for his expertise on examining the association between lifestyle and nutritional factors and the occurrence of breast cancer and other major illnesses.

The conference featured roundtable discussions that exposed leading nutrition experts and policymakers to industry innovation in Israel. The topics included challenges in nutritional science, agriculture, industry, sustainability, and national health policy.

“Israel’s status as the startup nation also applies to our prowess in terms of innovation and creativity in the realm of groundbreaking food and nutrition research, advanced agriculture techniques and sustainability,” says Prof. Iris Shai, from Ben-Gurion University’s School of Public Health, who was the conference’s lead coordinator and one of the presenters.

Prof. Iris Shai

Prof. Shai’s research focuses on nutrition and the epidemiology of chronic diseases, as well the effect of diet and lifestyle intervention on diabetes. She has led long-term groundbreaking studies on this topic.

Other international presenters included Profs. Frank Hu of Harvard University, Tim Key of the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford (UK), and Shoichiro Tsugane, director of Japan’s National Cancer Center (Center for Public Health Sciences).

Prof. Nir Avieli, from BGU’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, led a nutrition tour in the open-air market in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s old city. Participants also visited outdoor markets in other parts of Jerusalem, Akko and Baka al-Gharabiya.

Panel discussion moderated by Prof. Shai

The conference ended with a gala dinner in Jerusalem featuring a talk by Prof. Willett, who spoke about the health costs of excessive consumption of red meat, milk products and sweetened beverages. Prof. Shai moderated a panel of experts who discussed the benefits of labeling food products and regulation of the food production industry.​