Mediterranean Diet and Workplace Health
September 27-28, 2014
Harvard School of Public Health
The Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency (OEMR) at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in collaboration with the PBS show, The Cooking Odyssey, is pleased to announce the conference, “Mediterranean Diet and Workplace Health,” as a part of the OEMR’s ongoing Initiative for Productivity and Health Management. This unique and innovative conference will feature lectures, panels, and select chef-supervised meals to increase awareness, appeal, and understanding of Mediterranean dietary habits as a vehicle for improved workplace health. Conference registrants will also be our courtesy guests at an associated Greek food and wine exhibition immediately following the HSPH conference.
Course directors Stefanos N. Kales, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM, Associate Professor and Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Director, Harvard School of Public Health, and award-winning Chef Michael Psilakis, Executive Chef and Owner of Kefi, FISHTAG, and MP Tavernas, have assembled a highly experienced team of world-renowned scientists, chefs and thought leaders. Together they will present the tradition and flavors of the Mediterranean diet; the science behind it; and various strategies and ideas necessary for to introduce and implement it in workplaces and schools.
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Since Hippocrates, lifestyle behaviors have been known to directly impact health and the risk of disease. In particular, the quality and quantity of food consumption and health status are intimately linked. The Mediterranean diet is a collection of similar eating habits historically followed to varying degrees in over 15 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea: hence the diet’s name. Specifically, the Mediterranean diet is most closely associated with the traditional diet and essential foods of Greece. Modern medicine and public health have consistently demonstrated that the “Mediterranean Diet” is associated with better health status, greater longevity, and positive effects on chronic diseases.
The specific benefits of a Mediterranean diet are numerous and can include achieving and maintaining a healthy weight; decreased risks for cancer, heart disease, cognitive decline and other chronic ailments; increased energy levels; and overall improved health/quality of life. Additionally, the diet is very attractive due to its diverse and colorful flavors; incorporation of healthy fats and proteins such as olive oil, nuts, and fish; and its inclusion of regular wine consumption in moderation. These features make the Mediterranean diet an attractive and enjoyable option, which is accessible and acceptable for adoption and long-term adherence.
Nonetheless, although the Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating in the United States, most Americans do not follow it and have only limited understanding of its key principles. Even more so, food services in our workplaces, schools, government offices, and other institutions have been slow to implement food options compatible with the Mediterranean Diet. Introductions to healthier eating – both delicious and fun – can translate to healthier schools and workplaces.
About the Organizations
HSPH Initiative for Productivity and Health Management: This program provides a forum for teaching opportunities, directed research, and colloquia to bring academia and practice together around efforts to maximize the health of the workforce and its dependents for the mutual benefit of employees and their employers. The emerging field of Productivity & Health Management recognizes the interrelation of employees’ health and well-being with employee satisfaction and an enterprise’s healthcare expenses, absenteeism, disability, turnover, and productivity. This event will be our 3rd international colloquium on workplace health and wellness.
The Cooking Odyssey Show: A PBS culinary television series that showcases the wondrous sights, sounds, and tastes of Greece. Its viewers embark on a Grecian odyssey to explore the rich and authentic tastes and history of Greek cuisine, while learning about Greek cuisine and history. Media from past episodes will be incorporated into the current event to virtually transport participants from Boston to the beauty and flavors of the Mediterranean. Highlights of the current conference, recipes, and interviews with thought leaders will be built into future episodes of the Cooking Odyssey Show.
Co-Chairs: Stefanos Kales and Michael Psilakis
Scientific Committee: Stefanos Kales, Athena Linos, and Walter Willett
Gastronomy Committee: Michael Psilakis, Diane Kochilas, George Stamou, and George Kyrtatas
This conference is made possible by a generous unrestricted educational gift from FAGE USA, the exclusive food sponsor of this conference.