As a region transitions from ancestral diets low in fats and high in whole grains to Western pattern diets high in fat and processed foods, the population can experience nutritional deficiencies, higher rates of obesity, and increased risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
In 2015, Dr. Chris Melby, a faculty member in the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University, went to Ecuador on a Fullbright Fellowship to study this phenomenon and how to reduce those risks. The work he did there has led to research partnerships, faculty and student exchanges, and a sustained relationship between ColoradoSPH at CSU and universities in Ecuador. Faculty have traveled between ColoradoSPH at CSU and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito to give lectures, and each school has hosted a student from the other. They are currently exploring further possibilities for student exchanges and presenting the results of collaborative research studies.
Much of the research being done in these collaborations looks at diversity of diet and where local residents are getting their food with the hope of implementing programs that will enhance agricultural diversity and improve diet to decrease nutritional deficiencies. This summer, Dr. Melby will be creating new opportunities in Ecuador as he works with colleagues and students at the Universidad Tecnica del Norte on these questions.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on July 12