A significant lifestyle change has happened during the last 100–200 years with industrialization, rapid urbanization, economic development and market globalization. Changes in food intake and a more sedentary lifestyle both increase the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD) and various cancers. Diet is one of the key environmental factors particularly involved in the pathogenesis and progression of most of these diseases. Together with physical inactivity, alcohol abuse and tobacco use, these four key environmental factors cause metabolic and physiological changes, such as overweight and obesity (Chap. 8), insulin resistance and β cell failure (Chap. 9), T2D (Chap. 10), hypertension (Chap. 11), dyslipidemia leading to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular failure (Chap. 11) and the metabolic syndrome (Chap. 12). However, not a single individual food component but the interaction between many of them and the overall quality of diet is responsible for the increased risk for these diseases.
In this chapter, we will provide a first overview of the role of nutrition in health and disease. We will describe the evidence of dietary factors in non-communicable diseases and the impact of exercise on the prevention of diseases. Moreover, we will describe low-grade chronic inflammation (Chap. 7) as the underlying cause of many non-communicable diseases. We will use obesity and cancer as examples, in order to describe the link between inflammation and nutrition-triggered diseases.
KeywordsNutrition Non-communicable diseases Cancer Obesity Physical activity Adipose tissue Inflammation
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