Food Service & Nutrition - Fall 2017 - 14
CE 3.0 - NUTRITION AND HEALTHY LIVING
What is Health, and
How Can You Achieve It?
By Kyla Gallant-Sova, RD
veryone has their own opinion about what constitutes
healthy living, and it seems as though the science behind
health and wellness constantly is being updated. How does
one navigate the constant influx of information around the
ever-elusive word "health"? The short answer is that health is
individual. You are the expert in how food, activity and stress
affect your body. Your body knows how much physical activity
it can manage and your body can sense what foods are best to
provide it with nourishment. Exercise and healthy eating take
time and effort, and in a world where time is increasingly at
a premium, dedication to personal health often takes the hit.
So how do you protect your health when it is the last thing on
your to-do list? Pair intuition with a common-sense approach
to current health and wellness research to build healthy habits
that will last a lifetime.
WHAT IS HEALTH?
In the journey to achieving health, we must first determine
what "health" truly is. The World Health Organization (WHO)
originally defined health as "a state of complete physical,
mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of
disease or infirmity".1 It later clarified this statement to say
that health is "a resource for everyday life, not the objective
of living."2 In other words, health is a tool to aid us in living
a more full, enjoyable life.
Looking at health in this light helps take the pressure off of
achieving some unknown idealistic level of health. Health is
individual, based on a person's unique values and aspirations.
Health may look different from one person to the next. Initiatives
such as the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement are fighting
to question our current perception of health to look more at
lifestyle or health habits and less at arbitrary numbers such as
body weight or size.3 The focus is thus placed on the journey
of living life in a healthier way rather than on achieving some
number on a scale that will supposedly protect against disease.
This doesn't mean that we should all give up on efforts to
improve our health and give in to our inner glutton and sloth.
Lifestyle adaptations such as diet, exercise and education
have been repeatedly shown to improve health outcomes such
as diabetes, stroke and cancer.4-6 The HAES approach to health
emphasizes self-acceptance, participating in exercise that is
CA N A D I A N S O C I E T Y O F N U T R I T I O N M A N AG E M E N T N E W S - FA L L 2 0 1 7