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The Value of Health and Nutrition Is it true that good health and diet contribute to a more productive and long-lasting life?
The state of physical and mental well-being is referred to as health, while diet is the study and practice of consuming and using foods, vitamins, and minerals, as well as their relationship to illness, issues, and disorders. Good health and proper nutrition are an essential aspect of a long and productive life due to its relationship to physical wellbeing and psycho-social states (Parizkova, 2016). In this way, the mental and physical states which are directly relatable to a person's longevity and productivity are closely influenced by the nutritional status and the overall health. In the words of the British nutritionist Victor Lindlahr, a person is what he eats, and his health and disease can be controlled through the intake of an appropriate diet.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the productivity levels in an individual can be raised by up to 20 percent through the intake of an adequate diet. This illustrates the critical importance of proper nutrition and the role it plays in influencing the maximum discharge of responsibilities and duties in an individual. Collective responsibility can also be influenced by the health and nutritional statuses of individuals involved through its effects on the psyco-social factors such as irritability and self-esteem which affects the delivery of groups at work. International health organizations have established a link between economic status and nutritional levels in their extensive researches as declared by the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN), held in 1992 in Rome. In their statement, the nutritional well-being of people is a critical pre-condition for the productivity and development of human societies. Therefore, the performance at work or school is influenced by the physical or mental conditions which in turn are a result of the nutritional status. Moreover, the productivity of an economy can be drained through medical expenditures from nutritionally preventable conditions and diseases such as stress, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (Alexander et al., 2015).
The importance of nutrition and health towards productivity and long life is further exemplified through research led by the Brigham Young University on employees' eating habits and work productivity. In their study, employees partaking unhealthy diets were revealed to be 66 percent more likely to report a decline in productivity as compared to healthy eaters. This is firmly attributable to the influence of food towards the state of body and mind and ultimately the performance of an individual. In this regard, poor dietary habits can lead to low energy levels, fatigue, irritability, reduced mental effectiveness, stress and depression, insomnia as well as reduced job performance which serve to reduce productivity (Urban et al., 2013).
An insufficient ingestion of energy providing foods leads to low energy levels in the body and fatigue. This is because of low energy supply which limits the capability of undertaking manual work as well as slowing the cognitive function. Low brain function, in turn, lowers creativity and the capacity to think clearly which then hampers decision making and work performance. Inappropriate nutrition is also a primary source of fatigue and irritability which affects not only individual performance but also performance in groups. This directly affects the productivity both at work or school.
Mental health is also a factor affecting productivity that is influenced by nutrition. Poor nutrition results in reduced cognitive function and may lead to insomnia, sleep apnea, stress, and depression. Existing mental conditions are also worsened under inadequate nutrition. These states of mind reduce the effectiveness of an individual to carry out tasks and thus reduces productivity.
Stunted growth of children due to lack of vital minerals and nutrients is a primary cause of underperformance in schools, especially in developing countries. This hampers the development of professional capacities through education and training. As a result, the economy is deprived of potentially productive workforce leading to a decline in the overall productivity of an economy.
Additionally, health and nutrition influence the productive lifespan of an individual. This is due to the direct correlation between life-threatening diseases and nutrition. Lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease are an immediate threat to the life of a person and may lead to death or incapacity to work (Sarafino et al., 2014). Nutrition has also been attributed to lower life expectancy in developing nations such as in the sub-Saharan Africa as compared to the developed countries such as the USA. Therefore, the effects of nutrition and health on longevity and productivity of a person are irrefutably clear and significant and should be addressed to foster increased productivity, improved life expectancy, and prolonged productive lifespans.
Social Experiment Data.
In interrogating the impact of nutritional health on the longevity and productivity of an individual I conducted an online social research on www.surveymonkey.com to investigate the available awareness on the topic. In my investigative health and nutrition survey titled 'Hows your diet?', I set out to inquire into the knowledge on health issues such as Body Mass Index (BMI), physical activity, obesity and nutritional choices and perceptions. The following were my results;
In this survey, a majority of the respondents expressed familiarity with the concept of body mass index (BMI)which is essentially an obesity scale that expresses the weight to height relations. An individual's BMI is an expression of the nutritional status and health. This means that a higher BMI is an expression of obesity or tendency towards obesity which is attributable to poor health and a predisposition to lifestyle conditions and diseases (Levy et al., 2017). These diseases may include hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular illnesses. Additionally, more than half of the respondents ranked obesity highly among the causes of preventable deaths.
In this regard, the people appreciated the link between nutrition and health on the lifespan and the eventual productivity of a person. The prevalence of nutritional diseases under poor nutrition is thus understood as a hindrance to good health and an obstacle to the high productivity of a population both in the workplace and in the social arena.
In my next poll, the nutritional choices and perceptions were investigated with particular emphasis on eating habits, physical wellness, and choice of foods. A low percentage of the people agreed to paying attention to nutritional labels that inform composition of purchased foods while a high number of them agreed that low-fat foods are not necessarily healthy. An even more significant portion of the respondents indicated concern over their body weight and exercise of physical activity.
From this, it was evident that majority of people buy foods without due regard for their nutritional status or fat content. This can be attributed to the nutritional deficiencies that contribute to health status and productivity. A decline in the intake of healthy foods and increase in the consumption of greasy junks can, therefore, be the cause of the upsurge in nutritional diseases such as obesity which affects a third of the American population. This waters down the gains envisioned in the concerns over body weight and physical activity as polled. Therefore, without a significant enlightenment of the masses, minimal benefits will be achieved in improving the current nutritional status, health and the productivity of the American population and the world.
Results and Conclusion
From the researched data, it is clear that the effects of nutrition and health on productivity is not a universally understood topic and therefore sensitivity in measures to guard against nutritional diseases are taken casually. The obsession with body weight and physique at the expense of proper nutrition is ill-informed since it does not address the issue of universal health and productivity fully. This, therefore, exposes healthy-looking individuals to threats of nutritional conditions and diseases such as constipation, fatigue, low energy levels and unbalanced life which lowers performance and productivity.
Therefore, it is clear that people must be enlightened on good nutritional practices to live a more productive and long life. This includes the amount and content of the food taken as well as the nutritional value present. Proper nutrition in this regard improves the state of body and mind and brings about more productivity and long life. However, more research needs to be taken to investigate the current state of nutrition awareness and the necessary steps taken to remedy any gaps so that better productivity can be realized. Additionally, the state of corporate compliance to employees nutritional needs should be investigated, and a course of action developed to promote productivity not only in organizations but the whole economy.
Alexander, Cheryl Ann, and Lidong Wang. "Obesity and nutrition epidemiology: A study of cause and effect." World Journal of Nutrition and Health 3.1 (2015): 8-15.
Levy, E., et al. "Pediatric obesity and cardiometabolic disorders: risk factors and biomarkers." EJIFCC 28.1 (2017): 6.
Parizkova, Jana. Nutrition, physical activity, and health in early life. CRC Press, 2016.
Sarafino, Edward P., and Timothy W. Smith. Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Urban, Robert G., Piotr Grodzinski, and Amanda Arnold. "Implications: Human health and physical potential." Convergence of Knowledge, Technology and Society. Springer International Publishing, 2013. 185-222.
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