Study Abroad: Mediterranean Diet and Health

(Photo by Gianni Martini)
(Photo by Gianni Martini)

Would you like to spend part of your time this summer in Italy for a Nutritional Sciences Study Abroad program?  Donato Romagnolo, professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is pleased to offer students a 6-unit study abroad opportunity entitled “Mediterranean Diet and Health.” 

The course will include classroom time in Tucson from May 13-May 22, followed by three weeks in Verona, Italy (UNESCO World Heritage site), May 26-June 16. The program is also open to non-UA students for 6 units of credit. The syllabus is science-based and includes a practicum on dish preparation with the instruction of Italian experts and site visits to food production plants (olive oil, pasta and Parmesan cheese) and some cultural sites (City, Opera, and more, Verona has plenty to offer and it is 30 min away from Venice).

The Mediterranean dietary pattern, with its emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes, dairy products, herbs and spices, has a well-established beneficial role in health promotion. Epidemiologic studies reveal the protective role of adherence to this pattern on overall cancer incidence and mortality, prevention of obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. On November 17, 2010, UNESCO recognized this diet pattern as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco, thus recognizing this Mediterranean component of life style as a contribution to the world.

Program highlights:

1) Provide students with information about the health benefits of foods associated with a Mediterranean diet and for the prevention of chronic diseases;

2) Review and discuss the influence of bioactive compounds present in Mediterranean foods on metabolic pathways;

3) Provide students with an opportunity to learn about the food industry in Northern Italy, and dietary patterns of the Mediterranean area;

4) Acquire hands-on experience with food preparation supervised by local food instructors;

5) Experience the cultural diversity of Italy and influence of Mediterranean culture.

Requirements: This course is designed for University of Arizona undergraduate junior and senior students as well as non-University of Arizona students who have a background in nutrition, health, biological, physiological, and biomedical sciences. Academic requirements include NSC 170C1 (formerly NATS 104) - Nutrition, Food and You, or N SC 101- Introduction to Human Nutrition, or equivalent courses in nutrition, health, physiological, biological, or biomedical sciences.

Donato Romagnolo is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Department of Cancer Biology. He is a member of the Arizona Cancer Center and the Toxicology Center, the BIO5 Institute for Collaborative Research, and the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center at the UA. In his current position he promotes research that deals with the role of bioactive food components as regulators of expression of genes involved in cancer and inflammation.

For more information and to register:

Or contact Kendra Corey, study abroad coordinator, Italy & Northern Europe and Africa (Interim), at 520.626.3427,

Date released: 
Jan 28 2013
Donato Romagnolo