The Nursing School of Coimbra is a founding member of the Network of Higher Education Institutions for Safeguarding the Mediterranean Diet (RIESSDM), which was created on the initiative of the University of Algarve. The protocol was signed on 10 May 2019 in the seminar room of the Rectory of the University of Algarve by the Nursing School of Coimbra and 18 other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs): Polytechnic Institutes of Beja, Guarda, Leiria, Lisbon, Porto, Santarém, Setúbal, Viana do Castelo, and Viseu; Universities of Algarve, Aveiro, Coimbra, Évora, Porto, and Trás os Montes e Alto Douro, as well as two more non-integrated schools, (Nursing School of Porto and Estoril Hotel and Tourism School). The General Assembly of RIESSDM met for the first time on that same day.
This Network aims to enhance the work developed by higher education institutions for the promotion and safeguarding of the Mediterranean Diet (MD), as well as the "creation of a strategy for research, innovation, and intervention at regional, national, and international levels, contributing to the affirmation of Portugal as a leader in this area.
The Mediterranean Diet is a secular cultural and civilizational heritage, a lifestyle, and a food standard of excellence recognized by the World Health Organization and UNESCO in 2010 (Spain, Greece, Italy, and Morocco). The Mediterranean Diet was again recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (ICH) in 2013, after a joint application of 7 countries (Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Morocco, and Portugal).
To promote this lifestyle and diet, the General Assembly met on 7 October 2019 at the Estoril Hotel and Tourism School (ESHTE) to prepare the work for the coordination and articulation between higher education institutions regarding the sharing of good practices in the context of safeguarding the Mediterranean Diet. This multidisciplinary initiative involves five working groups with different themes on which the Network's actions will focus: Sustainable production, processing, and marketing of food (including biotechnology); Health, food, and nutrition; Gastronomy and food heritage; Culture and healthy lifestyle; and Territory and sustainable development, with ESEnfC teacher Marina Montezuma Vaquinhas assuming the role of coordinator/spokesperson of the Network's Health, Food, and Nutrition working group.
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