Hunger and malnutrition , rapid changes in the diets and lifestyles, "nutritional transition", where traditional foods such as cereals and potatoes are increasingly being replaced by diets that are richer in added sugars and animal fats, increased caloric content of food ,increased fat content, excessive consumption of meat, dairy products, and eggs, individual risk factors such as unhealthy diets, low levels of exercise, and genetic factors are all responsible for the high levels of chronic diseases .
The risk of developing chronic disease can be reduced at any age, therefore people of all ages can benefit by eating healthy food, maintaining optimum weight, and exercising.
A well balanced diet consisting of different food groups as well as increased physical activity can prevent chronic diseases.
‘Safe range’ guideline to healthy eating
- Total fat intake should be 15 to 30% of total dietary energy intake.
- Free sugars found in soft drinks and many processed foods should be less than 10% of total energy intake.
- Consume at least 400g of fruits and vegetables per day. Along with wholegrain cereals this can provide sufficient fibre.
- The WHO also makes recommendations about body weight – in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) – and physical activity.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adults.
- For good cardiovascular health, at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking every day is recommended for people of all ages.
- Certain types of foods and eating habits such as snacking, binge-eating, and eating out can contribute to excessive weight gain and obesity.
- Regular physical exercise
- High dietary fibre intake
- Healthy food and activity choices at home, school and workplace
- Sedentary lifestyles, particularly sedentary occupations and recreational activities such as watching television
- Large portion sizes
- High intake of drinks containing added sugars
Inactive lifestyles and excessive weight gain increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, especially when excess fat is stored in the abdomen.
Certain dietary fats, especially those that are commonly found in dairy products, meat and hydrogenated oils increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other dietary fats, such as those found in soybean and sunflower oils, can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fish oil which is found in fatty fish is also beneficial.
- Limit intake of dairy products, meat and cooking fats such as clarified butter or ghee.
- Eat 400 to 500g of fruits and vegetables every day
- Have fish once or twice a week.
- Restrict salt intake to less than 5 g per day and
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
- Cut down on the amount and frequency of consumption of sugar,
- Ensure adequate exposure to fluoride, and
- Avoid certain nutrient deficiencies.