IXth International Nutrition and Dietetics Congress, Ankara, Turkey April 2-5th 2014.

 

Sandra Capra AM, PhD, FDAA

Chair, Board of Directors, ICDA

 

1200 people converged on Ankara for this Congress, which delivered 34 sessions, 220 orals/ posters and 103 speakers across three and a half days.  There were also 4 satellite programs, providing advanced training in specific topic areas.

Topics varied and there was something for everyone.  Simultaneous translation was available Turkish/English for all plenary sessions and sessions in the main hall. Topics included nutrients and metabolic regulation, nutrients and brain function, molecular and environmental aspects of food preferences, inflammatory gut disease, sustainable diets, food-medicine interactions, improving professional skills, dietitians as leaders, current debates on human milk, bariatric surgery, cooking related carcinogens, energy balance and sweeteners, malnutrition, advancing from immunonutrition to pharmaconutrition, intestinal microflora, coeliac disease, nanotechnology, menu labeling in institutional foodservice, organ transplantation and nutrition, food labeling, glycaemic index, chemotherapy and nutrition, school milk programs, specialisations in dietetics.

I was privileged to have been asked to speak on “dietitians as leaders”.

The social program of welcome receptions, dinners and the closing party offered opportunities to meet people and discuss common interest areas.  Turkish dancing was undertaken by some of the overseas guests with some gusto!  There was a very well attended trade display as well, but all materials were provided in Turkish. 

For those of you who are not familiar with dietetics in Turkey, the first program started in 1962 at Haceteppe University.  There are now nearly 50 universities offering dietetics programs with an expected 1000 graduates a year in the upcoming years.  There are about 3000 dietitians in Turkey for a population of about 80 million, so nowhere near enough.  About 7.5% have PhDs and there is an active research program underway across the country.  By 2020 it is expected that there will be about 9000 practitioners.  Of the current workforce, almost 50% work for the ministry of health, 15% at universities and the remaining 35% for a variety of other organisations such as food companies, foodservice companies, private enterprise, sports and similar.