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Health Aff (Millwood). 2015 Nov;34(11):1813-20. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0606.

The Complex Relationship Between Diet And Health.

Author information

1
Sara N. Bleich is an associate professor in health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland.
2
Jessica Jones-Smith is an assistant professor in international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
3
Julia A. Wolfson is a PhD candidate in health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
4
Xiaozhou Zhu is a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
5
Mary Story (mary.story@duke.edu) is a professor in community and family medicine and global health at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina.

Abstract

The relationship between food and health is complex. Everyone needs food to live, but too little food, too much food, or the wrong type of food has negative consequences for health. To increase understanding of this relationship, we describe trends and patterns in food-related diseases among both adults and children. Using an ecological framework, we then describe why food intake is complex with a discussion of three broad levels--macro (including policy and social-cultural norms), local community, and individual environments--and their relationship to food consumption. Given the strong relationship between an individual's food choice and his or her surrounding environment, we end with examples of policy responses that aim to help people overcome environmental disincentives toward healthy eating. Finding ways to make eating healthfully easier and affordable for all populations is essential to shifting the average American diet toward one that promotes health.

KEYWORDS:

Determinants Of Health; Health Promotion/Disease Prevention

PMID:
26526238
DOI:
10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0606
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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