For most of my career as a dietitian and health counselor I have paid much attention to the deficiencies in my clients’ diet and lifestyle choices and how these could be changed for the better. Over the years, however, I began focusing more on what went right in their lives and how their strengths could be utilized in order to overcome their weaknesses. You may say I applied (unknowingly) what is now known as “positive psychology.”
While much research has been done on the health effects of stress, surprisingly little is known about what happens when people are no longer able to cope with the challenges life throws at them. Yet, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a phenomenon commonly known as ‘burnout’ affects ever-growing parts of the population.
When it comes to treating weight problems, even experts believe that similar methods can be applied almost universally: Put your patients on a diet, have them engage in regular exercise, and, if all else fails, recommend some surgical procedure. What gets rarely looked at are the differences between overweight individuals that may have led to their unhealthy weight gain in the first place. Only one such study has recently been published, and the results are eye-opening.
Eating out is generally considered a pleasurable experience, not least because of its convenience. Busy lifestyles as well as lack of cooking skills and amenities make it an easy choice for many working-age adults to let others take care of their nutritional needs. Unfortunately, not being in charge of your own food preparation can prove hazardous for your health in the long run.
April 7 is World Health Day, an annual event sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote greater awareness of global health issues. Conferences and activities all over the world address diverse topics like life expectancy, infant mortality, spread of diseases, access to clean drinking water, healthcare infrastructure, to mention a few. One of the findings is that the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the world in terms of health status and longevity remains wide and may not significantly narrow in the foreseeable future.
By the end of this decade, diseases stemming from poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices will top all other causes of death worldwide. At the same time, there are no effective policies in place to tackle the most pressing problems such as the obesity epidemic and other so-called non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that are now affecting billions of people around the globe. Even in developed countries, these challenges are not yet fully understood and are not met with the necessary countermeasures to prevent further deterioration, experts say.
There are plenty of people who must avoid gluten for health reasons. But there are also many who only follow a gluten-free diet because that’s the message they are given in the media, from daytime TV shows to celebrity endorsements. Experts warn that it would be a mistake to adhere to a gluten-free or wheat-free diet simply for better health or weight loss.