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Press release

Nutrition and physical activity at the center of a joint chair UCL-Delhaize Group

BRUSSELS, Belgium, May 27, 2011 - The Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and Delhaize Group inaugurate a Chair dedicated to the effects of healthy eating habits and physical activity on the prevention of certain diseases. The objective of this collaboration is to answer questions related to obesity through an interdisciplinary approach. The idea is to implement prevention strategies that combine the benefits of a healthy diet, rich in polyphenols1, and regular physical activity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), bad eating habits, in quantity and in quality, as well as a lack of physical activity are among the main causes for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and some cancers. In Europe, obesity is responsible for 10 percent to 13 percent of all deaths. The WHO also warns that obesity has tripled in Europe since the ’80s (mainly among children and teenagers). The current economic crisis is only expected to magnify these problems, as many consumers will tend to choose products of poor nutritional quality and rich in calories.
UCL researchers see this Chair as an opportunity to deepen their research related to nutrition and physical activity.
Their objectives are to:

  • Get a better understanding of food habits, based on socioeconomic origins, through a sociological study aimed at quantifying and qualifying the health influence of polyphenols and regular physical activity
  • Study (using cellular models) the impact of polyphenols on fat digestion, intestinal absorption and inflammation of adipose tissue
  • Highlight the biological mechanisms that make healthy food and physical activity beneficial for health, to serve as the basis for obesity-related educational and social programs and tools to be recommended to public authorities

For Delhaize Group, the collaboration with the UCL is perfectly in line with its corporate responsibility commitment – one of three pillars of its corporate strategy. Delhaize Group puts a great deal of importance and attention toward improving the health and well-being of its customers and associates.
Delhaize Group plans to inform its customers and associates about the results of the research relating to nutritional practices and healthy lifestyle to further promote a balanced diet and active lifestyles.