Copenhagen, Denmark: Summer 2017

Read about my internship at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe in the Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program, within the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course.

The healthfulness of biomedical scientific events:

I. The problem:

There are four noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) responsible for causing the highest levels of morbidity and mortality in the global population: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases. The WHO’s European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases has identified four major risk factors contributing to these NCDs: unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, alcohol, and tobacco. To decrease the burden of these NCDs, the WHO has developed four strategy elements to minimize the aforementioned risk factors: surveillance, prevention, control, and planning.

This study aims to identify the presence of these four risk factors at scientific biomedical events. The collection and analysis of this data may allow future researchers and policy-makers to better intervene in the prevention, control, and planning of the accessibility of the aforementioned risk factors at biomedical scientific events.

II. Hypothesis:

Organized biomedical scientific events typically offer foods and beverages high in calories, sugar, and fat. Additionally, such gatherings incorporate low levels of physical activity, such as walking, standing, or stretching.

III. Significance:

A component of WHO’s Global Action Plan is to decrease premature mortality from NCDs by 25% by 2025. Creating healthier meetings for scientific leaders, who act as role models for healthy behaviors, may help the WHO achieve this goal. Thus, changing the environment may change food and beverage consumption patterns, as well as physical activity levels, for the proposed target population and beyond.

As a part of my summer internship at the WHO, I attended the International  Childhood Obesity Conference (CIOI 2017) in Lisbon, Portugal.

I have also used this internship period to explore Denmark, Portugal, and Basque Country (Spain) and continue my work as a food photojournalist. Learn more about my intercultural culinary pursuits.