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Food and nutrition 

Food and nutrition
Chapter:
Food and nutrition
Author(s):

Prakash S. Shetty

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0012
Page of

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date: 16 September 2019

Food and nutrition are important determinants of diet-related diseases of public health importance. Public health nutrition from a developing country perspective focuses on undernutrition and nutritional deficiencies due to inadequate and poor diets compounded by the contributions from unhealthy environments that increase the risk of frequent infections and its consequences. In the developed world, the diseases attributable to food and nutrition result from quantitative and or qualitative imbalances in the habitual diet and include obesity and its related co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and cancer. Changes in the diet and reduction in physical activity characterizing modern urban lifestyles are important drivers of this epidemic of diet-related diseases. The determinants of these diseases operate both at the individual and population level and necessitate public health responses that are both integrated and multisectoral. The economic and other consequences of diet-related disease burden necessitates priority for primary prevention by promoting healthy diets and lifestyles. Developing countries undergoing rapid economic development and urbanization are also faced with the increasing risk of obesity and related co-morbidities. With the persistence of the problem of undernutrition, the emerging epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases contributes to a double burden of malnutrition in societies in developmental transition. Food and nutrition policies, and health promotion activities, in these countries need to address both ends of the spectrum of malnutrition in a coherent manner.

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