Last month, I spent several event-filled days in Granada, Spain at the 17th International Congress of Dietetics (ICD), a dynamic meeting held every four years by the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations (ICDA). Unlike national dietetic associations, which represent individual dietitian members, ICDA represents the organizations themselves, providing a much-needed opportunity to share best practices, advancements and other strategic learnings within the structure of the profession.
This year’s overall theme, “going to sustainable eating,” proved to be both timely and controversial. The opening session set the tone with a film produced by the congress organizers, depicting some of the global challenges inherent to feeding and nourishing a growing a population in a sustainable way. However, questions arose around the scope of solutions proposed for solving these massive problems. Centuries-old methods of farming and food processing are indeed largely good for the earth and important for preserving culture and heritage. But can these steps alone address today’s (and tomorrow’s) challenge of delivering nutrition to an exponentially-larger population?
Innovation in farming and food production must be part of the overall dialogue to achieve a sustainable and healthful future for generations to come. Some presentation topics, such as nutrigenomics, did address examples of technological advances and the impact they have on understanding how to provide the best support popular to populations and individuals.
What’s clear, is that dietitians play an extremely important role in this dialogue and we should feel empowered to tackle these topics – first by asking difficult questions and becoming more informed about the entire food supply chain – in order to contribute to the health of populations and our planet.
Posted by Erin Boyd Kappelhof, MS, MPH, RDN