THE RELATIONSHIP OF NUTRITION AND HEALTH
The United States was historically referred to as the “melting pot” because it rep-resented people of many nationalities who immigrated to this country in hopes of finding a better life. The individuals in this country bring all their cultural diversi-ties with them, including their cuisine. Many choose to assimilate immediately by learning the language and trying the foods of their new country; others may favor the foods and customs of their country of origin. The diet that individuals follow will determine, to a large extent, their health, growth, and development. It has never been more imperative that active measures be taken to make our social, cultural, political, and economic environment in relation to diet a health-promoting one.
Taking care of one’s health is all about prevention. In the past, the focus was on treatment of diseases, with little, if any, attention to prevention. Preven-tion, however, can often be less costly than treatment and offer a better quality of life for an individual as well as the community. Nutrition and diet choice form a logical starting point for preventive health care measures and education to improve quality of life.
Achieving wellness that integrates body, mind, and spirit should be the main goal in life. This can be accomplished through lifestyle changes such as focusing on healthy food choices, not smoking, participating in regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. Expanding one’s mind through con-tinued education, in both nutrition and other areas, and finding a source of inner strength to deal with life changes will all contribute to one’s sense of wellness.
Living a long life without major health problems is possible. The younger one is when positive changes are made, the healthier one is throughout the life span.