The FOOD, WATER and HEALTH conference was organised by the Umberto Veronesi Foundation.
The event presented insights into health topics related to water and food, starting from the contribution that science can give for improving access to drinking water and more nutritious foods in developing countries. There is increasing interest in the link between our diets and modern health problems, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The conference discussed how our diet has evolved over the past four million years and the evidences suggesting that our health problems are due to a mismatch between the hunter-gatherers diet (Paleolithic diets) and how our genome is best adapted to and our modern post-agricultural diet (Neolithic diet). The event presented a snapshot of the epidemic diffusion of chronic diseases in our society and the research goals of nutrigenomics, the science concerned with the relationships between nutrients, human genome and health. Food is not only energy for life. The nature of food preferences was also explored. How do our taste genes shape our diet? Which factors influence our perception and enjoyment of food and drink? How is food perceived in different cultures? The conference addressed the importance of a healthy diet rich in food bio-actives to prevent chronic diseases and promote healthy aging, with a special focus on the emerging role of intestinal microbiota in our health.