Having a healthy body usually means one is free of disease and injury. Sometimes, people are born with hereditary diseases, which are carried in a person’s genes and passed down through generations. Other factors that contribute to a person’s health are his or her environment, lifestyle, and general nutrition.
What are the major health issues in our world today? In impoverished countries, contaminated water and lack of sufficient nutrition contribute significantly to poor health. Infectious diseases like malaria and AIDS are also major issues in countries that cannot afford modern medicine and medical equipment.
On the other hand, affluent countries, where water is typically safe and food is usually available, a person’s lifestyle is a frequent cause of health problems. Obesity, heart disease, and strokes are most common in people who get little to no exercise or eat too much unhealthy food. Health problems caused by tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse are also common in more developed countries.
Nutrition is the process of supplying the body with the nutrients it needs to function and stay alive. Eating a balanced diet is an important part of maintaining health. For many years, the United States has used food pyramids to show what a balanced diet should look like. But now, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there is a new “pyramid”: it’s a plate. The brightly-multicolored plate provides a clear breakdown of what a healthy diet includes: proteins, grains, dairy, fruits, and veggies.
In contrast, malnutrition happens when one does not eat the proper foods to stay healthy, or when one eats too little of certain types of foods. Stunted growth, for example, can occur from lack of protein. Malnutrition can also happen if one consumes extreme amounts of certain types of foods. For example, consuming too many fats and sugars—like candy and other junk foods—can cause obesity, which is very common world-wide and leads to problems like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Excess weight can put a strain on the body and cause joint pain, shortness of breath, and arthritis, among a host of other health issues.
Understanding proper nutrition is important and essential for good health. Eating balanced diets provides our bodies with the nutrients they need to enable us to lead healthy lives.
[Sources: Huffington Post; e.encyclopedia]