Can Nutrition turn back the clock on quality of life? The Answer is Yes!

Can Nutrition turn back the clock on quality of life? The Answer is Yes!
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The clear consequence of scientific advancements, growing health awareness and increase in life expectancy is the sharp focus on better Quality of Life which has now become a prerequisite for maintaining long-term good health. Quality of Life (QoL) encompasses a multi-dimensional concept of an individual’s general well-being status in relation to their value, environment, cultural and social context. Too many definitions are loosely used to pin down the concept but let us stick to the one from WHO “It is an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns”.

Drumming up ways to bolster Quality of life

 Since Quality of life is an amalgamation of a myriad factors, let us focus on the elements which we could modify for a significant impact. To get a clearer understanding of quality of life among Indian adults, a survey was undertaken by Danone India to assess how we fare given the lifestyle changes that we have experienced since last year.  Our intent was to analyse Quality of Life (QoL) scores and attitude towards physical health and nutrition- the two most defining planks that underline quality of life.  The results indicate that nearly 1 in 2 Indians have a poor quality of life.  The most discernible insight we gathered was that most Indians were aware of the importance of nutrition and physical health, but it didn’t materialize into healthy eating habits. There exists a huge chasm between required protein intake and current consumption. Other micronutrients also mirror the same trend as only a small percent of respondents met Recommended Dietary Allowance for these essential micronutrients. It should be enough to raise alarm bells for all the stakeholders associated with the food industry.

More focused attention on nutrition is required

A lot of studies have shown an association of our diets with Obesity and micronutrient deficiencies. (Obesity itself is a risk factor for several non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and diabetes). To illustrate my point NCDs can only be more successfully preempted with consumer engagement around healthier food and nutrition choices and amendments in the lifestyle by regular fitness exercises. However, the role of nutrition is more than preventing the onset of disease.    We should view food as an enabler for a better quality of life.

The public health discourse is already loaded with the dialogue about food and NCDs- this should embrace the element of quality of life.  The benefits accumulated from a nutritious diet can improve our quality of life, and this message needs to be percolated to the consumers in a way they understand.  Our relationship with food goes deeper than sustenance and this facet should be understood by companies and consumers alike.

The food industry must adopt bold measures given the growing nutritional challenges that populations world over are faced with.   Food has an important role in improving the quality of life and we should continually endeavor to improve the nutrition profile of products and reinforce our commitment to healthy eating and lifestyle programs for consumers and employees alike. Let’s not forget the old proverb- “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need”.

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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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