You don’t have to look too far to know that we are facing big challenges in relation to nutrition. Some of those are shown on the word cloud here, but you may be able to think of others too.
Globally, malnutrition continues to be a major risk to health and well-being, whereas in many developed countries obesity and poor food choices tend to be the issues we think about, and there is strong evidence for the impact that these have on our health.
Food also affects our health and well-being in other ways too. It’s an important part of culture in all societies. Just think about how important food is in our traditions and festivals, such as Christmas or Eide. What we eat can be influenced by our religion and ideological beliefs, such as the growing green tradition with its emphasis on organic foods. Thus food is linked to our sense of identity and our psychosocial well-being.
Today, technological development and globalization have led to increased accessibility and diversity of the foods available to us. Changes in family structure and employment impact on meal patterns, what we eat, and where we eat, such as in restaurants and fast food outlets. The presence of advertising is also known to have a strong influence on food choices, and this is not always seen as promoting the most valuable foodstuffs for health.
Whilst malnutrition and poor nutrition still have a devastating impact on health and economic development in the developing world, this resource focuses on problems with nutrition in developed countries, such as the UK and in particular in relation to healthcare.