The English Oxford Dictionary describes health as “the state of being free from illness or injury,” meaning that a person’s overall health is dependent on their physical, mental, and social well-being. Of these three factors, physical health is the most basic necessity for human survival and it is, therefore, of the utmost importance that everyone be properly-nourished. The 2018 Global Nutrition Report found that malnutrition is alarmingly high – the highest cause of ill-health than any other – and that every country in the world is affected by this pandemic. As more people become overweight and obese, and more children are stunted, wasted or underweight, it is more urgent than ever for everyone to be educated about the importance of a healthy diet.
What does the World Health Organisation say?
As a specialised agency of the UN, the World Health Organisation has been a leading global authority on public health since 1948. The organisation has played a key role in the eradication of smallpox and currently prioritises diseases and issues, such as HIV/AIDS, sexual health, occupational health, substance abuse, and food security alongside nutrition as pressing global concerns, responsible for the loss of millions of lives every year.
The World Health Organisation actively promotes the importance of healthy eating and has compiled a list of five basic recommendations that anyone can follow to improve their overall health:
- Consume at least 400 grams of fresh fruit and vegetables per day.
- Limit the intake of salt (sodium) to no more than 5 grams per day.
- A person’s daily intake of free sugars should not exceed 10% of his or her total energy intake.
- The intake of fat should be less than 30% of a person’s daily energy intake.
- Take extra care to maintain a healthy weight by consuming about the same amount of calories that the body uses to function on a daily basis.