The Mediterranean diet is a pattern of eating common to countries near the Mediterranean Sea and is associated with good health and prevention of chronic disease. Arguably, the country most central to a Mediterranean style of eating and lifestyle is Italy; therefore, it is a unique setting for student learning. The purpose of this study abroad program is to experience, compare, and contrast the activity/lifestyle, nutrition, cuisine, food environments, and eating culture in rural and urban settings throughout Italy (Rome, Amalfi Coast, Cilento, Florence, Alpi Apuane Mountains, Cinque Terre, Parma, Padova, Venice, and Sardinia).
During this program, multiple topics will be discussed: the Mediterranean diet/lifestyle; physical activity biology; social aspects of eating; “Blue Zones"; macro and micronutrient properties of Mediterranean foods; the glycemic index; obesity; and the relationship among food, physical activity, and human health and disease. This program includes visits to local food markets and food productions sites (e.g., chestnut mill, olive oil), the Museum of the Mediterranean Diet, and an Italian university; eating and learning with local farmers, residents, and restaurants (e.g., parmesan cheese, balsamic, bread, pizza); experiencing cuisine in larger cities; and guided and self-guided tours of historical and cultural sites.
This program is fast-paced with significant physical activity (hiking, walking, snorkeling, and kayaking). This program may be of interest for students in Life Sciences (e.g. Nutrition, Dietetics, Food Science), pre-med majors, and majors related to travel. All majors may apply.
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