Japanese people have one of the longest life-spans in the world. The Basic Law on Shokuiku was put into effect in 2005. ‘Shoku’ (food/diet/eating/nutrition) is important for all Japanese people to cultivate rich human relations and to acquire the knowledge and means to live healthy lives. Since the establishment of the Basic Law on Shokuiku and the Basic Program for Shokuiku Promotion, education concerning food and nutrition has been advancing as a national movement in Japan. An outline of the 21st century nutrition policy for health promotion was proposed by Ministry of Health and Welfare in 1997. Based on this outline, various policies and programs have been developed to enhance people's quality of life and improve their health. The strategy to achieve this comprised 1) setting targets for nutrition and health from a broad viewpoint, 2) establishing a support structure responsive to diverse needs, and 3) improving cooperation in nutrition policies. Efforts to promote the health of individuals and communities through improved nutrition management and integrated health promotion programs involving all available resources related to food and nutrition will form the strategy for the next decade.
This study examines the relationship between the preference for different types of soup stock and the perception of umami taste by parents and school-aged children. The preferences of 54 children (10-11 years of age) and 52 parents for niboshi soup stock and niboshi-flavoured seasoning mix soup stock were evaluated by using a questionnaire. The subjects were classified into three groups: the niboshi group preferred niboshi soup stock (42% of the parents and 9% of the children); the seasoning mix group preferred seasoning mix soup stock (44% of the parents and 39% of the children); and the ambivalent group had no preference (14% of the parents and 52% of the children). In the seasoning mix group, the sensory score for umami taste with the seasoning mix soup stock was significantly higher than that with the niboshi soup stock (p<0.05). The scores for umami taste for both the niboshi and seasoning mix soup stock were lower with the children in the ambivalent group than with the children in the niboshi and seasoning mix groups (p<0.05). These results suggest that there was a relationship between the preference for different types of soup stock and the perception of umami taste.
We investigated the effect of kurozu, a brewed vinegar, on the NK cell activity and peripheral blood cells in 18 university student cyclists. They were assigned to two groups, one of 11 drinking kurozu, and the other of 7 cyclists not drinking it. The drinking group was given 30 ml of kurozu a day for 80 days. Both groups performed an equal amount of training for 80 days. The NK cell activity was significantly decreased by 80 days of training in the non-drinking group (from 71.9 ± 15.9% to 61.9 ± 11.3%) (p < 0.05), but not in the drinking group. Kurozu therefore prevent the degradation of NK cell activity by intense training, suggesting its contribution to the physical condition of student bicycle racers.
This study evaluates the recognition of the importance of food and nutrition education among staff working in different organizations that can promote food and nutrition education. We conducted a questionnaire survey in 2007 in Shizuoka prefecture on the staff belonging to eight organizations promoting food and nutrition education. The 856 responses showed that the recognition was different among the organizations. For example, nursery school and kindergarten teachers considered food and nutrition education as “an opportunity for good family communication,” elementary and junior high school teachers as “improvement of basic dietary knowledge,” and Japan Agricultural Co-operative members as “a method to improve agriculture.” Food industry workers, food service workers and volunteers promoting food practice improvement connected with the board of health considered such education as “a method for preventing lifestyle-related diseases.”
L-glutamic acid (Glu), a non-essential amino acid, is known for a typical umami taste molecule, and its sodium salt has been used for a century as a seasoning to improve the palatability of foods. Glu has recently been found to be the only amino acid that stimulated the gastric vagal nerve. These gustatory and gastric functions of free Glu may improve the quality of life of the hospitalized elderly with a decreased digestive function. We analyzed the free Glu contents of our hospital food to estimate the daily free Glu supply for the hospitalized elderly. The average daily free Glu supply in our hospital was around 700 mg/day. This value is less than half of the daily intake of L-glutamate as a food additive in 246 foods for people over 65 years of age which was reported by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (now called the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) in 2000. The effect of fortifying free Glu in our hospital foods should be examined.
This study identifies the number of servings per dish children usually eat at school and home. We also examined the implications for nutrition education that encourages children to check their own diet by counting the number of servings by using the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top. A total of 2184 dishes were obtained from 7-day weighed food records completed by 109 school children in the 5th grade in Nagano schools and by 46 children in Tottori schools to analyze the dishes they consumed for breakfast and dinner at home. In addition, a total of 261 dishes from school lunch menus in Tokyo, Saitama, and Hiroshima during either October or November of 2006 were collected and analyzed. The number of servings of fish and meat in dishes at school, and of white rice, vegetable salad, marinated vegetables, stir-fried vegetables, fish, and meat in dishes at home were fewer than the number of servings indicated by the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top. Although the minimum in the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top is 1 serving, the children tended to eat dishes in a smaller serving size: 40.6% of side dishes, 37.2% of fruit, 19.7% of main dishes, and 14.9% of staple dishes consumed at home contained between 0.25 and 0.67 serving which were categorized as 0.5 serving. Similarly, 83.3% of fruit, 20.6% of side dishes, 17.1% of main dishes, and 11.6% of staple dishes contained 0.5 serving in school lunches. Servings of bread and noodles for school lunch differed among the regions investigated. Introducing 0.5 serving to the measurements is considered to have been useful to more precisely grasp the children's regular diet. Dish examples in the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top should be shown with a serving size appropriate for children as well as for adults.