Health

MiradorSalud 2022: Fruits and vegetables, Healthy diets, COVID-19, Food losses and waste, Food safety, Zoonoses… – MiradorSalud

We are approaching another end of the year and thinking about it, it occurred to me to revisit my contributions to MiradorSalud in 2022, which involves reflecting on the reasons that led me to select the topics presented to our readers and invite them to take a fresh look at them.

Fruits and vegetables (F&H). Undoubtedly, F&H will always be a recurring theme because, as I mentioned precisely in one of the articles, their consumption is a constant and very important dietary recommendation, since this group of foods contains a large number of essential compounds for adequate nutrition and for good health (protect against diseases and stimulate the immune system). They are relevant to children’s growth and support bodily functions and physical, mental and social well-being at all ages. They can help prevent all forms of malnutrition: undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, overweight and obesity. Additionally, with their colors, flavors, aromas, textures, they are a gift for our palates and the rest of the senses. Many do not relate that a group of foods —which is generally the one that is left off the plate for multiple reasons— is essential for full food security and for a healthy diet, so it is essential that they be available and affordable for the entire population. population

Social programs. You couldn’t let 2022 go by without touching on this topic that we have discussed a lot at MiradorSalud from various perspectives. On this occasion, in light of an important article entitled: “SNAP and WIC participation during childhood and food security in adulthood, 1984-2019” carried out by researchers from the University of Michigan, Providence Healthcare System (Rhode island); from Brown University and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Once again it is impossible not to compare it with Venezuela’s star social program, CLAP.

Food losses and waste (FWP). Another recurring theme corresponds to raising awareness about FLW, since they have an impact on all dimensions of food and nutritional security, since they reduce the global and local availability of food, affect access to food with ethical and economic consequences, produce quality losses, safety and nutrients throughout the chain; The stability and sustainability of food systems is disturbed since they use valuable resources of water, land, use of nitrogen, energy, biodiversity is affected and they are the source of approximately 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing FLW is essential to combat hunger and protect the Earth, but we must do so through an “agrifood systems” approach, as our actions can have consequences on other system actors, activities and environments.

COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2022, two years into the pandemic, I made a chronology of some of the things that marked everyone’s life and my life during that dark period: Many, many worries, some great sadness, some very few joys. I wanted to share them with our readers. In December 2022, almost three years after a pandemic that does not end, my great desire would be that, having returned to an “apparently normal” life, something essential should not be forgotten: that this is due to the great advances in the science both in the development of vaccines and specific antivirals, as well as therapeutic protocols. Neither, forget the deceased, the survivors of COVID, especially those who do not recover from the “persistent Covid”, do not trivialize the virus as a “little flu”, nor abandon the use of masks in closed environments or with crowds. SARS-CoV-2 —as well as all respiratory viruses— are airborne and we must continue to take care of ourselves, as well as our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable since the main route of transmission is the aerosols exhaled by those infected —by simple breathing, without the need to cough, sneeze, shout, or speak—and are inhaled by healthy people.

“Zoonoses and «One Health»”. I end by quoting this article on a subject that constitutes one of my greatest concerns: awareness about zoonoses. You have to think beyond this pandemic. It is necessary to know about all diseases of zoonotic origin. This is of enormous relevance for the food industry, especially those in the animal sector and products of animal origin. Also consumers. We all need to familiarize ourselves with the concept of zoonosis and know that the COVID-19 pandemic is a relentless demonstration of the devastating impact of zoonotic diseases, in which viruses jump from animals to infect humans. Although the urgent focus has been on the development of vaccines and antivirals to limit the spread and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections, it is essential that this experience once in a generation be used to determine the factors that drive the emergence of zoonotic diseases and to identify where the gaps in our knowledge lie. By understanding why and how zoonotic diseases arise in humans, as well as the barriers to this process, it is possible to be better prepared to prevent pandemics like COVID-19 from reoccurring or at least respond more effectively. We must all handle this concept and understand that we can only preserve the safety and well-being of the world by applying an approach that encompasses the interconnection of human health, animal health and environmental factors.

Merry Christmas and a healthy year 2023.

Maria Soledad Tapia

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