Appointment of Ramon Estruch, Group leader
Harmonious interaction between food, physical activity, and lifestyle, is the secret to a long life in times of globalization

Current research

Problem

The leading cause of premature death in industrialized countries is cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 30% of all deaths around the world (17.3 million deaths/year) and is considered a public-health priority. Evidence exists that indicates that lifestyle, and more specifically a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, may play a key role in the prevention of this disease and in the management of associated risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and dyslipidaemia.

Approach

To meet this 21st-century challenge, the group is conducting different clinical studies, such as PREDIMED (prevention with the Mediterranean diet), PREDIMED-PLUS (intervention with a hypocaloric Mediterranean diet, physical activity and behavioural therapy), MEDCARS (~14,000 employees at the SEAT factory), SI¡ (~1200 adolescents) and IMPACT (~1200 pregnant women with foetal growth restriction).

The aim of these studies is to find tools to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease and its associated risk factors, such as diabetes, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and obesity.

Impact

The results obtained in the studies conducted by the group make it possible to extrapolate nutritional recommendations for the whole of society because the group works with the highest standards of scientific evidence. This has been shown by the PREDIMED study, which enabled the Mediterranean diet to be included in American and European nutritional guidelines because it is considered to be an effective and healthy diet for preventing chronic, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even some types of cancer.