Nutrition is Associated with Chronic Disease
A chronic disease is a condition that develops slowly over time and lacks a specific cure. Most chronic disease treatments are aimed at managing the disease, not curing the disease.
Most of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States are chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, nephritis, nephrosis and nephrotic syndrome. Of these, there are strong associations between nutrition and heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Nutrition also plays a role in the development of Alzheimer's Disease and some could argue that it plays a role in most of these diseases, although a causal relationship has not been established.
There are many factors that contribute to the development of chronic disease. There is no one cause. Factors that contribute to chronic disease include genetics, viral infections, lifestyle choices, environmental factors, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, socioeconomic class, low birth weight, aging and stress.
Although genetics contribute to the develop of chronic disease, just because you have diabetes in your family, does not mean you're going to develop diabetes. What you put into your body impacts those genes. Food can turn genes on and off. In addition, viral infections can contribute to chronic disease. Lifestyle choices, such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, leading a sedentary lifestyle and environmental factors all play a role. If someone lives in a place with more smog, their environment increases their exposure to carcinogens, increasing the likelihood of developing a chronic disease. Those a lower socioeconomic class have a greater chance of developing chronic disease. It may not be obvious that socioeconomic class would impact health, but some people living in urban areas don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and may rely on corner convenience stores for staple foods. Low birth weights and increasing age increase the risk for the development of chronic disease. This website will focus on nutrition and lifestyle factors.
Nutrition and Chronic Disease Video
- Leading Causes of Death. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Last Updated February 26, 2016. Last accessed March 15, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
Last updated April 7th, 2016