Food, Nutrition and Gastronomy Programme for Pre-school Education (PANGEI)
There is nothing more profitable for a country than investing in education and health. And nutrition forms part of both. Educating the population in knowledge of foods and in acquiring healthy eating habits, involves providing people with tools that will help them to stay healthy, to value food as a cultural asset and to be on the whole, a lot happier.
Even though, since 1990 contents have been included for health promotion and education in the school curriculum for compulsory education, following the recommendations of the Dublin European Conference of Education for the Health of the European Community, recent figures on childhood obesity show that much remains to be done and that we must focus on food education.
It is essential for this task to be carried out from childhood. Acquiring healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle is more effective at an earlier age rather than as an adult and more enduring results are achieved. This, in turn, leads to positive and significant effects on obesity rates and cardiovascular health.
Healthy eating and enjoying eating are two aspects that need to be emphasised. Gastronomy and healthy eating habits represent a joint experience which allows you to eat well and to enjoy doing so, at the same time. Therefore, the disclosure of gastronomic culture is vital, specially in a country such as Spain, which can boast an exceptional variety of foods which transforms its national cuisine into one of the most tastiest and healthiest in the world. Mediterranean gastronomy forms part of our identity as well as being an essential element of Europe's cultural heritage.
However, we cannot forget food and taste education, which is based on the awakening and training of our senses, thus converting tasting into an experience of learning and knowledge. Human beings have the capacity to transform food into a cultural element. Feeding ourselves is a necessity as well as a pleasure that we should enjoy using our five basic senses. The combination of sensations, stimulations and perceptions that we acquire while trying food are determinant for introducing it or not into our diet.
Teaching children not only to eat well but to also enjoy doing so, is a priority objective with a vision for the future. When these children grow up, they will teach their own children to eat properly and to appreciate the flavour, smell and texture of food. Ultimately, education lays the foundations for building a country full of healthy people with a high standard of living.
Being well aware of this, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, the National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research (CNIIE), the Spanish Consumer, Food and Nutrition Safety Agency (AECOSAN), the Royal Academy of Gastronomy and the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, have collaborated in the development of the "Food, Nutrition and Gastronomy Programme for Pre-school Education" (PANGEI).
The main objective of this project is to acquire healthy eating habits from an early age to ensure a better quality of life, in the years thereafter and in adulthood. PANGEI comprises updated innovative material, with a gastronomic approach that will improve the food culture of our country, from young children.
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