Author(s): Walker AR, Walker BF, Adam F
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Abstract In millennia past, and until recently, among hunter-gatherers and like populations, in all populations, in measure, down through the ages, the securing of sufficient food was life's primary purpose. Virtually all people were physically very active during early life and later in their everyday occupations. In contrast, nowadays, in Western populations, with relative abundance of food, the way of life is mainly one of enjoyment of meals, of work, and of leisure time, in a context of as few as one child per family, and with long survival times of about 75 to 80 y, due in large part to much reduced child mortality and the effective treatments of disorders and diseases. As to changes in food consumption, compared with the erratic and often monotonous fares of the past, both far and not so distant, everyday diets have changed tremendously in variety, nutritional value, and palatability such that, inter alia, overeating is almost inevitable. Compounding the latter, sedentariness is the rule, in contrast to the previously very high level of everyday physical activity in the masses of populations. In consequence, one speculation is that, by 2230, "all Americans will be obese." Although the living of much longer lives is highly gratifying, understandably, all wish to have longer "healthy life expectancy," i.e. to suffer as little as possible before death. However, with regard to the present-day "passive consumer," although the practical recommendations for leading still healthier lives, dietarily and non-dietarily, are well known, very few are interested, and still fewer practice them. Nevertheless, for the few who, with determination, are eager to improve their lifestyles, there could be highly profitable lengthening of years of "healthy life expectancy" by eating less, eating more plant foods, being much more physically active, and restricting non-dietary risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption).
This article was published in Nutrition
and referenced in Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity