Healthy Lifestyles: Diet, Physical Activity and Health

ILSI Europe Concise Monograph. 2012:1-52

The prevalence of overweight and obesity and associated chronic diseases in the ageing European population has increased. Partly explaining this phenomenon are the sedentary lifestyles associated with less physically demanding activities in daily life; this leads to an imbalance between energy consumed and energy expended. Overweight and obesity, accompanied by excess body fat, which further triggers metabolic abnormalities, constitute risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases. New areas of nutrition research, like metabolomics and nutrigenomics, have begun to provide insight into the complex interactions between the consumption of foods and the effects of nutrients they contain on metabolism and on gene expression in liver, muscle and other organs. Genetic disposition (hereditary factors) is partly influential but even more important is the exposure to environmental factors, including nutrition and lifestyle choices (such as smoking or sedentary lifestyle), which can have an impact on health or disease outcomes with ageing. This Concise Monograph provides a framework to guide individuals to a healthy lifestyle based on current scientific understanding of the relationship between nutrition, health and physical activity.

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