New young members: Roshanak Neshati, Bryndis Eva, Alejandra Cantoral
Distinguished members: Nevin Scrimshaw, Boyd Swinburn, Pekka Puska
Isabela Sattamini reports: During Rio2012 so many participants told us how much they like to read our members' profiles. They learn about colleagues' trajectories and discoveries. They could go up to members whose faces they recognised and have a knowledgeable conversation with them. This makes the work of our membership team so worthwhile! Some extracts from our new profiles follow below. From the left (above):
Roshanak Neshati writes: I was born in Teheran, Iran, in 1981. My Persian family helped me since childhood to think about my future life. When I was a child, I wanted to become a medical doctor to help sick people. But when I grew up I became curious about the world of women and pregnancy. So I studied midwifery from 1999 to 2002. My interest in nutrition was sparked during my high school period and more so during my bachelor's degree in midwifery. I saw many women having low birth weight children and most of them did not have sufficient information about their nutrition.
Nevin Scrimshaw as one glimpse of his vast experience and achievement, writes of the time he was director of the Institute of Nutrition of Central American and Panama (INCAP): In the 1950s, I worked on the prevention of kwashiorkor. Characterised by apathy, anorexia, swelling, blackening of the skin, and hair loss, kwashiorkor affected children throughout Latin America, and also Africa, and Asia. Typically, untreated children would die of the disease within weeks of diagnosis. Realising that the deficiency developed when breastmilk was no longer the sole source of food, I searched for an alternative protein source available to poor Central American families. At the time, the cost of one protein-rich egg or a glass of milk was equivalent to that of a meal for an entire family.
Bryndis Eva Birgisdottir writes: I was fascinated by a book I found at my grandparents' house describing the human body and the discovery of the vitamins and their magnificent effect. Since then many rivers have run to shore and with them my black and white view on the world, which has become more abstract. However, my enthusiasm for the wide field of nutrition is unchanged. This burning sensation that this is important, that food is the basis for everything else and basic human behaviour, down to the last atom'.
Boyd Swinburn writes: There is a need for the fight against obesogenic environments to be more tightly linked to the wider political debate about strengthening democracy and recapturing public policy for public benefits rather than being dominated by corporate interests. Health is right now a relatively weak force in the totality of lobby pressures on politicians. We need to learn that what is good for climate change and reducing car use, will also be good for obesity.
Alejandra Cantoral writes: As I grew up I was always concerned about obesity, worldwide and in my country. I am convinced that a major part of this problem is the excess intake of processed food. As a mother and as a nutritionist I try to convince my children and my patients to take the time and enjoy to prepare healthy home food and avoid fast food as much as possible.
Pekka Puska writes: For most of my career, I have worked at the National Public Health Institute. For 25 years, I was the director and principal investigator of the North Karelia Project for prevention of cardiovascular diseases in North Karelia which later on became national. The project is widely seen as a model for successful population-based prevention of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases. The story of the project began in the sparsely populated frontier region of North Karelia which is in eastern Finland, the part of the province that remained Finnish during the Soviet occupation in the Second World War. In 1972 North Karelia became the focus of what was to become the whole country's path to recovery. In the 1970s Finland held the world record for rates of heart disease. The idea then was that a good life was a sedentary life. Everybody was smoking and eating a lot of fat. Finnish men used to say vegetables were for rabbits, not real men, so people simply did not eat vegetables. Staples included butter on bread, full-fat milk and fatty meat…. [Ed: and then? Access Pekka Puska's profile, and see… ]