The first National Convention on the Scientific Basis of the Mediterranean Diet (D.M.) took place on April 28, 2011, at Castle Angioino in Mola di Bari, a quaint town on the Adriatic Coast, 20 km. south of Bari.
The Mayor of Mola di Bari started the conference by bringing to the attention of the participants the significance of the convention, to pass from the myth to the scientific data, without ignoring the culinary aspects, bringing awareness to the naturally healthy products found in Mediterranean Diet. The scientific research is conducive in engaging the Municipality to proceed with a second conference on fish and seafood in collaboration with the London and New York Academies, by contemporarily implementing educational studies on nourishment in schools, families and the population at large. The Convention had the participation of distinguished Researchers, the likes of Giovanni de Gaetano, Director of the Research Laboratories of the Università Cattolica di Roma, in Campobasso, that has developed the principal theme "From myth to the scientific data", Licia Iacoviello, from the same University, conveyed the theme "Moli-Sani, a city as a laboratory", Vitangelo Magnifico, spoke about the Mediterranean sea and cultivations particularly in respect to the artichoke and the tomato and other fruits and vegetable products of the Mediterranean Diet, Francesco Gentile on the prevention of metabolic diseases, very often found in the south, Pippuccio Fiore on the decrease in incurring the risk for dangerous cardiovascular problems, (myocardium failure) and to conclude Dino Iannuzziello on the prevention of colorectal cancer.
The speakers were presented and mediated by Nicola Ciaverra of the University of Bari, by Domenico Pinto, an agricultural entrepreneur and by the Mayor of Mola who were very keen in having the convention in Mola, a typical southern city by the sea, with homegrown products and seafood, with the rich smells of fresh fish typical of the Mediterranean Diet. The large amount of research presented all proofed and analyzed with scientific methods, have confirmed the role of the Mediterranean Diet as it was known in the 40's by the Italian Lorenzo Piroddi, considered the king of the Mediterranean Diet, confirmed by the international studies of Angel Keys, an American Physiologist, who had observed the properties of a wholesome diet of the inhabitants of Cilento, Pioppi-Pollica (SA), where thereafter he preferred to live for the next 40 years until his demise in 2004 at the age of 102. Such studies have confirmed the values of the Mediterranean Diet in terms of healthy food and physical activities, associated with healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, extra virgin olive oil and red wine drank in moderation with meals and last by not least pasta, to effectively decrease cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diseases of the metabolism, some forms of tumors, and some neurodegenerative diseases (such as Parkinson and Alzheimer) . All this has justified UNESCO's worldwide recognition of the Mediterranean Diet as an intangible asset for humanities. Many distinguished authorities have endorsed this convention, among those Dario Stefano, Councilman to the Agricultural Policies of the Puglia Region and Sergio Silvestris of the European Parliament and regional organizations, such as TerrAntica, the GAL southeast of Bari, the DOP bread of Altamura, and other international organizations such as from New York, Puglia Center, (which anticipates the opening of the Mediterranean Style Academy), and the Apulia Academy in London. To this extent, from New York there was a video made by Rossella Rago, anchor of the web TV program "Cooking with nonna", that introduces the kitchens of the Italian grandmothers and therefore the typical Pugliese diet (Mediterranean Diet). At the end of the conference there was an alarm launched from the studies of "Moli-Sani" of Campobasso, of the progressive distances being taken by the youth population, from the Mediterranean Diet and the repercussion it has on teenagers, predominantly in the south of Italy, which has undertaken serious disproportions of overweight and obesity (1 child in every 3 is overweight or obese), which can lead to diabetes, diseases of the metabolism, and in adulthood, cardiovascular diseases and tumors which are on an increase and need to be stopped with nutritional education in schools and for families with an urgent change in lifestyles (more exercise and less TV) before it's too late.
Nicola Ciavarella - Domenico Pinto