Finland-China Food and Health Network Symposium “Sustainable and Healthy Life” March 22nd-23rd

Finland-China Food and Health Network Symposium “Sustainable and Healthy life” brought together scientists from the different partner institutes both in Finland and China to the University of Oulu, the University combining arctic attitude with warm welcome to all the participants. This two-day hybrid event was jointly organized by the University of Oulu and the University of Turku.

The multidisciplinary program included exciting talks covering various fields from the sustainability and development of processes in food industry to biochemical and physiological health effects of nutrition and engineering of biosensing devices and applications to monitor health and nutrition-related parameters.

One of the key takeaways from the symposium was the importance of adopting a holistic approach to nutrition and health. It became apparent that it’s not just about the nutrients and the biochemical composition, but the food that we eat is really a fundamental functional component of human health regulating several aspects of human biology such as metabolic pathways and directly contributing to the nature of our symbiotic microbiome. A truly multidisciplinary expertise is needed to extract and monitor the diverse health benefits and risks as well as economical and societal factors related to food processing, diet composition and food sources.

A recurring theme was the potential of food to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Researchers presented new evidence on the role of specific nutrients and dietary patterns and public awareness in reducing the risk of these diseases.

A key part of the networking event was to discuss funding of the multidisciplinary food-related research initiatives. Petri Karinen, the head of international affairs from Business Oulu elaborated the current challenges and opportunities in his welcome speech. Funding-related issues were further discussed during the first afternoon session. The second afternoon session was devoted to the FCFH midterm report provided by Kirsi Korpela followed by an active panel discussion moderated by Professor Baoru Yang. The panelists commented on the current status of the network activities, discussed prioritization of the aims of collaborations. A positive notion was that there is finally a foreseeable end to Covid-related restrictions that so far have severely crippled mutual FCFH-activities.

Overall, the two-day symposium on food and health research was a great success, providing a platform for experts to share their knowledge, exchange ideas, and inspire new research directions. It was a reminder of the potential of food to nourish our bodies and communities, and of the important role that research and education play in promoting health and well-being.

Best regards,

On behalf of the organizing committee,

Aki Manninen

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