Prevention and management of lifestyle disorders: Role of nutrition
Healthy Living

Prevention and management of lifestyle disorders: Role of nutrition

Authored by Dr. Kalle Anand Kumar on 6 Jun 2013 - 09:04

What are lifestyle diseases and how do these affect us?

The diseases arising from the lifestyles we follow are often termed as lifestyle diseases. Industrialization, market globalization and urbanization has brought about significant changes in food habits. The consequence of this transition has negative impact on health and nutrition status of people in both developing and developed nations.  


The condition in India looks grimmer, as with significant improvement in living standards and food diversity  has lead to negative consequences like sedentary lifestyle and improper eating habits. These changes have lead to increased incidence of lifestyle diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, liver cirrhosis, osteoporosis,heart diseases, Alzheimer’s dementia,  cancer, lung and kidney diseases.

The susceptibility to these diseases further increases with smoking, alcohol consumption and drug abuse. These diseases can be prevented but cannot be fully cured and management of the disease is possible by following healthy lifestyle and improved dietary pattern, in addition to medication.


Our present lifestyle


People are busy with their day to day schedules. This busy schedule forces them to skip breakfast, make unhealthy dietary choices and reduce sleeping hours. The weekends are spent with the loved ones in entertainment which basically again includes consumption of high fat junk foods at restaurants, alcohol consumption and late night entertainment which disturb both food and sleeping habits. Busy schedule on week days and faulty weekend habits takes a toll on the body eventually leading to lifestyle diseases.


Healthy nutrition to prevent lifestyle diseases:


There is a plethora of evidence supporting the influence of lifesytle modifications on health.  Some of the reported research outcomes are listed below:

  • Physical activity significantly influences the body composition (bone, fat and muscle mass). Amount of energy obtained from food should be positively expended by physical activity to avoid fat deposition. This will prevent obesity and associated diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.
  • Breakfast must be taken as an important meal of the day.
  • Increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended due to their richness in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, fibre, complex carbohydrate, antioxidant vitamins, flavanoids, folic acid and phytoestrogens. However, pure vegetarians( vegans) might develop vitamin B12 deficiency and might need supplementation.
  • Diet rich in fibre, soya bean proteins, legumes and nuts is reported to improve good cholesterol (HDL), decrease bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) and also decrease the risk of breast cancer.
  • High fibre diet improves insulin resistance and help in diabetes management, decreases the risk of colon & breast cancers and decreases prevalence of colonic diverticula and gallstones.
  • Coronary heart disease risk has been reported to decrease significantly with increased fruits, nuts, vegetables and fiber rich foods.



In conclusion, lifestyle disorders can be prevented with living a healthy lifestyle, good eating habits and adequate physical activity. Management of the lifestyle disorders and increase in longevity is possible only with lifestyle and diet modifications in addition to the regular diagnosis and medication. Lifestyle diseases can be prevented but cannot be cured.

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