The EU4Nutrition LIVE event, organised by the European Nutrition for Health Alliance (ENHA) and held on 1 October, attracted hundreds of international patient representatives, health care professionals and decision-makers. It featured speakers from European patient organisations (EPF, ECPC) and Europe’s leading professional societies in clinical nutrition (ESPEN), geriatrics (EuGMS) and dietetics (EFAD).

MEPs and experts strongly support a full fledged and well funded EU4Health programme as recently proposed by EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. However, the desired health benefits and patient outcomes can only be achieved by including nutrition and nutritional care.

EU4Health, the Farm to Fork strategy and the Europe’s Beating Cancer plan provide ample opportunities hereto. Adoption by the EU Member States in their national health policies is key to create local impact and improve daily health care practice.

Chair of the event Olle Ljungqvist: 'If we are serious about health, we should be serious about nutrition'[1]

Matthias Schuppe, Team Leader Cancer Task Force at DG Santé: 'To beat cancer we need a holistic, citizen and patient centred approach addressing the whole disease pathway in an integrated way including prevention, screening, treatment and follow up care’.

MEP Aldo Patriciello (EPP, Italy), Co-Chair of the EP Challenge Cancer Intergroup stated: 'Extensive scientific evidence shows that nutrition is one of the decisive elements for the prevention and good treatment of oncological diseases.'

Michal Rataj, Board Member of the European Patients' Forum: 'Access to appropriate, affordable, and timely nutritional care should be guaranteed to all patients. Additionally, easily understandable nutritional information should be accessible to patients to empower them to make informed decisions about their health.'

With the Europe’s Beating Cancer plan and COVID-19 as examples, speakers recommended EU and national policy makers to

  • secure nutrition information, education and access for citizens/patients
  • foster shared decision making by well informed patients and professionals
  • include nutritional screening in disease management programmes and nutrition counselling should be available and integrated in all hospitals
  • promote multidisciplinary collaboration and sharing good nutrition practices across Europe
  • include nutritional care education in curricula of health professionals.

The European Nutrition for Health Alliance (ENHA) is the leading multi-stakeholder nutritional care community. Through its Optimal Nutritional Care for All campaign, it drives implementation of prevention, nutritional screening and follow up care in 19 European countries

[1] Olle Ljungqvist, Professor of Surgery, Nutrition & Metabolism, Örebro University, Sweden and Frank de Man, Executive director, European Nutrition for Health Alliance