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Swiss Regional Network Launch

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Geneva, 10th February 2020

By Sucheta Mitra, Jørgen Torgerstuen Johnsen and Jaroslav Guzanič

Edited by Prof Sumantra (Shumone) Ray

To achieve rapid sustainable reduction of all forms of malnutrition, for years NNEdPro has been enabling communities and empowering populations to create and implement nutrition sensitive health programmes and plans. Through its regional networks, NNEdPro seeks to empower both practitioners and the public through necessary tools, as well as develop programme areas to promulgate high quality and scalable nutrition knowledge translation achieving sustained impact in global health systems. NNEdPro does so in line with the United Nations Decade of Actions on Nutrition 2016-2025 (Nutrition Decade).

After a welcome address by Professor Shumone Ray, Jaroslav presented the Swiss Association for Cooperation on Food Education from gastronomy to sustainability (development pathway 2014-2020), from learning and experience sharing to actions. The corporation aims to combine all aspects of culinary arts, nutrition, education, hospitality, innovation and sustainability. It is a Switzerland based network for communities to achieve global impact in food sustainability. It serves as an innovation hub for transformation of ideas, research, collective development and implementation of sustainable projects.

The association is an independent continuity of an initiative to envision hospitality professionals, primarily chefs, as potential ambassadors for change. Nowadays, occupations such as chefs and food and beverage managers are more business oriented. However, current global development and demands only prove that these professionals need to be retrained in order to increase their potential to contribute towards sustainable development goals. Gaining additional knowledge from subjects like culinary nutrition, food psychology and education diplomacy is a priority. Further interdisciplinary networks aligned with project plans and new ideas will be integrated in the Swiss Network to secure a successful development pathway to achieve the regional and global outcomes as well as bridge the existing gaps. There is a strong presence of social enterprises and joint collaborations concentrating on the current development of hospitality, but almost none of them highlight the potential and importance of nutrition education to be implemented within a hospitality workforce and communities (relatively a new concept/area that might contribute to other regional networks).

In support of this endeavour, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through its Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme, fosters climate change awareness in primary education, through lifelong learning and across curricula development. This initial structure deserves further development of cooperation pathways in Switzerland and globally to create a knowledge platform for chefs and food specialists working on sustainable projects to get their work and vision supported by researchers and global nutrition organisations. In order to create more interactions among the main actors and stakeholders, the association will establish a Centre for Learning Design, which will consist of the following parts and stages:





From a future perspective, this project might bring an evidence-based source and provide needed records to support the ongoing research activities for developing a global knowledge platform.

After Jaroslav, Professor Ray presented an overview of the NNEdPro Regional Networks Programme. This includes the International Knowledge Application Network Hub in Nutrition 2025 (I-KANN-25), the Nutrition Education Policy for Healthcare Practice Initiative, and the Mobile Teaching Kitchens Initiative. He continued to highlight the importance of developing a critical mass of self-sustaining knowledge, skills and capacity in Nutrition and Health, within the global healthcare and public health workforce, that results in significantly improved health practices and outcomes. The Nutrition Decade plays an important part in achieving this vision.

Professor Ray continued explaining the conceptual framework stepladder from Food to Health which includes the steps from Food production to health status, wider determinants of diet, nutrition and health, and nutritional, knowledge and application. He pointed out that, classically when focussing on dietary choices and nutritional status we tend to forget to look at food production, nutrient quality and food environments for solutions to malnutrition related issues. The Swiss Regional Network will play a part in the local to global aim to extend reach via strategic partners and countries. It will seek to achieve this with three key initiatives across the NNEdPro Regional Network: the global online platform – the International Knowledge Application Network Hub in Nutrition 2025 (I-KANN-25), Nutrition Education Policy for Healthcare Practice (NEPHELP), and the Mobile Teaching Kitchen (MTK).

Furthermore, Professor Ray presented and discussed the mapping exercise, building the architecture of nutrition education for health professionals, a joint strategic initiative with the World Health Organization. It focuses on developing enhanced architecture for nutrition capacity building within the healthcare professional workforce based on 4 pillars of the Nutrition Decade: Research, Implementation, Education, and Network. Based on the key areas highlighted in this mapping exercise, there is a need for: Individual and government pledges for adopting nutrition education in the community and healthcare as a priority, including establishment of frameworks for best practice, improved global data collection mechanisms and validated indicators, and establishment of national curricula for nutrition education across all healthcare sectors including development and expansion of online resources.

Professor Ray concluded his presentation talking about the MTK initiative. The objectives of the initiative are to: Improve awareness (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) of diet diversity and disease prevention, measure indicators of nutritional health, use cooking skills as a medium for education, provide resources and signposting for food security, and promote social empowerment as well as impact preventative health. More information on the MTK can be found here Currently over a hundred sessions have taken place in the micro entrepreneurship phase of this project where NNEdPro has collected customer satisfaction data, number of plates sold, number of people present, and time at the venue. Analyses strongly suggest its potential to expand to other areas. In addition, the MTK initiative has recently won commended status in the Emerald interdisciplinary research awards 2019/2020 which was announced February 2020.

Jørgen Johnsen presented briefly on the newly Lancet double burden on malnutrition series published in December and the 10 double-duty actions. He finished with a reminder to the participants to keep the 10 double-duty actions in mind when working on, evaluating, and designing nutrition sensitive/specific programmes and policy.

Dr Minha Rajput-Ray talked about diet and lifestyle in the workplace. She caught significant and positive attention by speaking about the importance of diets and what the common causes and reasons of the insufficient eating habits were. After giving a few examples and cases based on real experience, she highlighted several important factors described under the “DETTOL” formula:

- Demand

- Environment

- Timing

- Teamwork

- Ownership

- Leadership

Dr Jeffrey Bohn presented on the causal inference: Unravelling the nutrition, longevity and type 2 diabetes tangle. His presentation focused on the fact that data-driven insight does not necessarily lead to evidence-based decision making. He continued by highlighting that most CEOs value data-driven insight, however, do not rely on evidence for key decisions and overlook data-driven insights to follow intuition. There are specific challenges with nutrition (and lifestyle) related research. It can be found within participant characteristics and behaviours confounding analyses as well as observational challenges. Some examples include time lag between dietary change and outcome may not be straightforwardly assessed and macronutrient intakes are typically highly correlated.

He ended his talk about nutrition research issues by mentioning that without pre-registration of data protocols and analyses, how many analyses were performed, to what extent data were filtered cannot be known with any degree of confidence. These typical research behaviours impact the ‘p value’ estimates and interpretation.

Dr Bohn continued to talk about causal inference and its criteria for determining a causal relationship and the difficulties we might face. For example, cognitive biases compromise the research, sample sizes are too small or suffer from selection bias, well controlled RCTs are often impossible to implement for practical and/or ethical reasons, etc. He ended his session by discussing the various structures underlie different causal relationships.

Afterwards, Jaroslav pointed out in the Questions and Answers how working with healthy employees is important/crucial in order to motivate co-workers and teams to take proper actions/steps to incorporate elements of dietary health and sustainability into the work environment. He also shared some of the “behind the scenes” experience that certain problems including mental health issues and even addictions have been emerging in the hospitality industry. According to him, working long hours, a high-paced environment, consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, desserts and fast food during or after night/evening shifts may be linked to a lack of food education, which negatively influences eating habits.

The Network soft launch was concluded by Dr Peter Van Dael – Vice president of DSM Nutrition summarising the key points from the presentations and Q&A.

This was followed by an interactive workshop to shape the next steps in operationalising the network.

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