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Al-Quds University and World Health Organization launch the Eastern Mediterranean Region food composition database

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Al-Quds University (AQU) and the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Eastern Mediterranean launched the database of food components in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, which applies artificial intelligence and specializes in food science, indicators, and values of healthy.

The launch of the food database took place at the meeting that was held from 19 to 21 September 2023, in Amman, Jordan, under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Salha Bint Asem. Representatives of all of the Region’s Member States will attend, along with members of academia, United Nations agencies and international organizations.

Experts from the WHO Headquarters and the Regional Office updated delegates on relevant WHO guidance and resources, and opportunities for technical support. They shared country experiences on policy implementation, as well as other success stories and challenges, and identified country support needs and opportunities for intercountry collaboration.

The food composition database, available as a book and as an electronic database, examines the nutritional landscapes of the Eastern Mediterranean. Users can learn about the macro- and micronutrient profiles of foods that sustain millions, and gain insights into dietary patterns, enabling informed decisions in health care, policy-making and community nutrition planning. This is not just about what foods are consumed; it’s about their implications for health, wellness and disease prevention.

For his part, the President of Al-Quds University, Prof. Imad Abu Kishek said that this database platform addresses nutrition focal points that contribute to the development of the health sector in the Middle East Region. “It is a joint initiative between Al-Quds University and the Regional Office for the Middle East, and aims to improve behaviors and dietary patterns in societies by making the data available to individuals and improve diets and prevent diseases resulting from wrong behaviors.”

The Director of the Jerusalem Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship – Al-Quds University, Dr. Radwan Qasrawi noted: “The book and database are the outcome of tireless work by dedicated researchers, field workers, dietitians, and many contributors from Al-Quds University and the World Health Organization — in collaboration with others in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, including the University of Jordan, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Lebanese University and Oman’s Ministry of Health — who have meticulously gathered, analyzed and presented food composition tables that not only inform but also set benchmarks for health in the Region,”

At the meeting, nutrition focal points from all Member States shared their experiences and success stories around addressing nutrition as a major health issue. They discussed countries’ actions to improve nutrition in low-income and emergency contexts and identify priorities to speed up progress on nutrition across the Region.

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