Previous Conferences


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Symposium 1: International and Regional Initiatives to Prevent Obesity Among Children

Childhood obesity is a complex problem of enormous proportions, influenced by macro-environmental as well as individual factors. Stopping and reversing the tide of obesity requires a multi-factorial, multisectorial and multi-stakeholder approach. Many childhood obesity prevention policies and programs that combine educational, behavioral, environmental, and other components such as health and nutrition education classes, enhanced physical education and activities, promotion of healthy food options, and family education and involvement have been developed and implemented in several countries. When it comes to reducing childhood obesity, schools turn out to be one of the main social contexts in which lifestyles are developed and reinforced and thus are a natural development zone for nutrition education and a source of healthy food and eating behavior. This is especially true when children depend on the food provided in the schools. It is also logical to assume that school based interventions are highly likely to be effective in reducing obesity. In fact, school based intervention measures such as healthy meal program and nutrition education have shown to help children attain good health, provide them with the skills necessary to make optimum choice of foods, and the necessary environmental reinforcement they need to adopt long-term, healthy eating behaviors.

This session will include presentations and a panel discussion on a wide range of topics centered on strategies and school based programs to prevent childhood obesity. The session will also provide information on how the food industry can contribute to these prevention strategies. 


Format: Presentations followed by panel discussion

Session Chair: Joanne Taylor


Speakers and Panelists:

Tim Baker, Headteacher -  Charlton Manor Primary School, School Food Plan Alliance Member, National Child Measurement Program Panel member, United Kingdom 

Gloria Friday, Charlton Manor Primary School, UK

Myles Bremner,  Director of Programs, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Former Director- The School Food Plan, United Kingdom

Rocco Renaldi, Secretary General, International Food & Beverage Alliance. International Industry Action and perspectives on NCD’s

Sidiga Washi,  Professor, Director, Nutrition Center for Training and Research School of Health Sciences, Director, Quality Assurance and Institutional Assessment Office, Ahfad University for Women, Sudan

Hamid Yahya, Schools and Educational Institution Health  Services, Dubai Health Authority  (Panelist)

Habiba Ali, UAE University, AlAin (Panelist)

Shyamala Vishnumohan, Consultant, Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) Inc, Australia


Symposium 2: International and Regional Approaches to Nutritional Labeling and Health claims on Foods

Nutrition labels provide information about the composition of food products to assist people make informed food-purchasing decisions. Consumers, especially those responsible for buying foods for the family, people with weight concerns, food allergies, heart disease or diabetes, and health conscious consumers, can benefit immensely from such information. It is important therefore, that nutrition information provided on labels should be truthful and not mislead consumers. 

This session will include presentations focused on nutrition labeling, scientific substantiation of health claims and nutrient profiling, and also look at the new risk-based approaches to nutrition labeling such as the Front of Package labeling. The panel discussion at the end would discuss and debate the effectiveness of various approaches to labeling.

Session Chair: Samuel Godefroy


Speakers and Panelists:

Sophie Hieke, Head of Consumer Insights, European Food Information Council, Germany

Linda Amirat, Principal Food Law Advisor – Regulatory Affairs, Campden BRI Group, UK

Bruce Neal, Senior Director, Food Policy Division, Professor of Medicine - University of Sydney  , Chair- Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health

Samuel Godefroy, Food Risk Analysis and Regulatory Excellence Platform (FRAREP) - Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF), University Laval, Canada


Symposium 3: Global Challenges in Nutrition 

Growing rates of overweight and obesity worldwide are linked to a rise in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and some types of cancer - conditions that are life-threatening and very difficult to treat in places with limited resources and already overburdened health systems. Foods, diet and nutritional status, including overweight and obesity, are also associated with elevated blood pressure and blood cholesterol, and resistance to the action of insulin. 

Food systems have undergone dramatic changes in past decades and this has had both positive and negative implications on the nutritional quality of foods. The symposium will showcase specific and successful food and ingredient based interventions, and guidelines and policies adopted in different countries to reduce the burden of non communicable diseases linked to food.

Chair: Yonna Sacre Al Shamy


Speakers and Panelists:

Majid Hajifaraji,  Research Associate Prof., Dept. of Nutrition and Food Policy & Planning Research, National Nutrition & Food Technology Research Institute (NNFTRI), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (SBUMS), Iran

Timothy Gill, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, Research Programs Director, Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders Principal Research Fellow -Prevention Research Collaboration,  Sydney Medical School , Sydney School of Public Health

Mary Flynn, Chief Specialist in Public Health Nutrition, Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Amjad Jarrar, UAE University, Al Ain (Panelist)


Symposium 4:  Global Challenges in Nutrition - International Strategies for Salt Reduction

Reducing salt intake is one of the easiest ways to reduce high blood pressure and thus, the risks of stroke and cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Reducing salt intake to less than 5 g per day reduces the risk of stroke by 23% and the general rates of cardiovascular disease by 17%. However, the intake in the Middle East region is well above 5 g per day. WHO has developed a set of voluntary global monitoring targets and 25 indicators to assess progress in the implementation of strategies to achieve the global political commitment to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.

This session will provide a good insight on the national and international action on salt reduction in foods.

Chair: Dave Shannon



Bruce Neal, Senior Director, Food Policy Division, Professor of Medicine - University of Sydney  , Chair- Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health

Saadia Noorani, Programme Lead for WASH and Public Health Nutritionist , World Action on Salt and Health(WASH), Wolfon Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London

Branka Legetic,  Professor in Social Medicine and Organization of Health Services, European University Belgrade, Integrated Faculty for Pharmaceutical sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia

Husam Fahad Omeira, Executive Director, Science and Technology Sector, Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research

Ayesha Salem Al Dhaheri, UAE University, Al Ain (Panelist)


Symposium 5: Food Security, Safety and Nutrition – Striking the Balance

Food security, safety and nutrition are essential dimensions of sustainable development. Inadequate food security and nutrition take an enormous toll on economies and have negative consequences for the livelihoods and economic capabilities of vulnerable populations. Hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition can be ended sustainably within a generation. However, the challenge is immense: one in eight people in the world today (868 million) are undernourished and approximately two billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Despite progress, the global community must address significant challenges to meet the needs of the estimated 868 million undernourished today.

This session will look at the relationship between food security and nutrition and the global challenges as well as landmark achievements in the recent times. The session will also address the food safety aspects that influence nutrition during the panel discussion.

Session Chair: Richard Sprenger


Speakers and Panelists:

Robyn Alders, Associate Professor, Faculty of Veterinary Science and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Australia

Kate Taylor, Senior Industry Partnership Officer, UNOPS China Operation Center 

Prakash Vishweshwaraiah, Vice-President of International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS), India

Manpreet Singh,  Associate Professor, Department of Food Science, Purdue University, USA (Panelist)

Bashir Hassan Yousif, Food Safety Expert, Dubai Municipality (Panelist)


Symposium 6: Initiatives to Promote Healthy Food Options in Food Businesses in Dubai

We are living in a world where people are getting increasingly dependent on the food that is not prepared in their homes. Food service businesses like catering facilities, restaurants and cafes are a ready choice for people who are on the’ fast track’ of a busy life. It is imperative that food service businesses offer healthier choices of food and Dubai Municipality is currently working on programs to promote healthy options in food service businesses.

This session will look at Dubai’s upcoming programs as well as international best practices with special contribution from some of the best food professionals in Dubai about what will work in Dubai and what wont.

Moderator : Dave Shannon


Speakers and Panelists:

Frankie Douglas, Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Timothy Gill, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, Research Programs Director, Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders Principal Research Fellow -Prevention Research Collaboration,  Sydney Medical School , Sydney School of Public Health, Australia

Uwe Micheel, Executive Chef, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai (Representing Emirates Culinary Guild)

Mariam Saleh, Corporate Nutrition Manager, Abela & Co, Dubai, UAE

Jehaina Hassan Al Ali, Principal Food Studies and Planning Officer, Food Permits and Applied Nutrition Section, Dubai Municipality, UAE

5:00 PM Closing Ceremony


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