Olga Moreiras (1933-2012)

The scientific message that Prof. Olga Moreiras has elaborated during her life has been Nutrition, and in several of its facets.

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Writing about her, Prof. Olga Moreiras Tuny is not easy, but I do it with immense emotion and pride.  The scientific message that Prof. Olga Moreiras has elaborated during her life has been Nutrition, and in several of its facets. She was born in Vigo (Northwest of Spain), grew up in her native Sarria (Lugo, Northwest of Spain), also in Malaga, lived in Madrid, enjoyed her best years in Granada, became a "coruñesa" (Galicia), and ythe prolonged research stays in The Netherlands and England also marked her forever. She was, at the same time, universal and local, and certainly advanced in many things, in science and in life.

Mercantile Professor and Mercantile Intendant, by the Escuela Superior de Comercio de Madrid. Food Science Technician from the Complutense University of Madrid, Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Granada and Doctorate from the Complutense University of Madrid. After having the second highest score in the Health Area for the promotion positions announced by the Complutense University of Madrid, she obtained, by competitive examination, the position of Professor, which she held almost until her death. A extended part of the research carried out by Prof. Moreiras and her group has been to find out, scientifically evidenced, what people and families eat, and even to try to find out why, the Spaniards behaviour. Thus, she coordinated the National Nutrition and Food Surveys in Spain, pioneering and still undoubtedly a reference for everyone. Other main topics of research also include, for the first time in Spain, the study of the nutritional status of elderly people, her especially significant contributions in relation to vitamin D status, but also the various studies on the assessment of dietary risk factors in relation to cardiovascular diseases, or the intake of pollutants through the diet (“total diet” approach).

She participated in research projects funded by the US Department of Agriculture, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), 14 in the European Union, as well as a variety of national calls for proposals. We were fortunate to have her as the supervisor of more than 25 doctoral theses, published 23 books, 35 book chapters and more than 200 articles in scientific journals, and 230 invited papers at Congresses.

There remains her legacy, her passion for socio-economic studies of food, her work at the School of Bromatology in Madrid, her leadership in European projects that are today a reference in the world of nutrition (SENECA; EUROFOODS; HEALTHSENSE, OPTIFORD...), having been a pioneer in drawing up Food Composition Tables in Spain, which continue to be updated in successive editions, or, equally outstandingly, having established the Recommended Intakes in energy and nutrients for the Spanish population.

Olga Moreiras (1933-2012)

So much, and always so discreet and rigorous. And so was her personal life, especially in the last years of her battle with the disease. We, the family, had the good fortune to live it at her side, and never a gesture of pain, not even a reproach!. Some years ago, the famous Spanish humorist and cartoonist Antonio Mingote wrote a magnificent tribute to our beloved and admired Prof. Francisco Grande Covián, when he also passed away. The humorist said: "surely and admired Prof. Francisco Grande Covián, when he also passed away. The humorist said: "surely he also knows how to feed himself when he no longer needs to eat". I´m pretty sure that Olga Moreiras is  also now enjoying his wise prediction advice.

Bibliography

  1. Varela-Mosquera G, García Rodríguez D, Moreiras O. La Nutrición de los Españoles: Diagnostico y recomendaciones. Publicaciones de la Escuela Nacional Administración Pública. Madrid, 1971.
  2. Moreiras O, Carbajal A, Cabrera L, Cuadrado C. Ingestas Recomendadas de energía y nutrientes (revisadas 2018). Departamento de Nutrición. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Tablas de composición de alimentos. 19a ed. Ediciones Pirámide (Grupo Anaya, SA); 2018.
  3. Moreiras O, van Staveren WA, Cruz JA, Nes M, Lund-Larsen K. Intake of energy and nutrients. Euronut SENECA investigators.Eur J Clin Nutr.1991 Dec;45 Suppl3:105-19.
  4. van der Wielen RP, Löwik MR, van den Berg H, de Groot LC, Haller J, Moreiras O, van Staveren WA. Serum vitamin D concentrations among elderly people in Europe. Lancet.1995 Jul 22;346(8969):207-10.
  5. Moreiras O, van Staveren WA, Amorim Cruz JA, Carbajal A, de Henauw S, Grunenberger F, Roszkowski W. Longitudinal changes in the intake of energy and macronutrients of elderly Europeans. SENECA Investigators. Eur J Clin Nutr.1996 Jul;50 Suppl2:S67-76.
  6. Cuadrado C, Kumpulainen J, Moreiras O. Contaminants and nutrients in total diets in Spain. Eur J Clin Nutr.1995 Oct;49(10):767-78.

Gregorio Varela Moreiras
Full Professor of Nutrition & Food Science, CEU San Pablo University (Madrid, SPAIN)

President Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN)

This article is the English translation of a Spanish version published by the Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SEBBM): https://www.sebbm.es/web/es/divulgacion/mujeres-ciencia/retratos/3372-junio-2019-olga-moreiras 

SEBBM – The Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SEBBM) was founded in 1963, currently has more than 3370 members and is the main scientific society that coordinates activities in Spain related to the extensive field of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. SEBBM protector members: Bio-Rad, Eppendorf, Fisher Scientific, Medina, Control Técnica, Viajes El Corte Inglés, Waldner, Roche, Merck, ASEBIO and Promega.