Nutrition and prevention of chronic diseases: a unifying eco-nutritional strategy Academic Article uri icon


  • Increasing efforts are being made to address, in public health policy (PHP), both the persistence of nutritional deprivation in economically disadvantaged communities, and the increase in so-called "chronic disease" (abdominal obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, arthritides, and inflammatory disease) in communities at all stages of economic development. The problems in the "chronic disease" descriptor are that its origins may be as early as conception, rather than during the postnatal lifespan, or even in previous generations; it may appear abruptly or slowly; and it may be amenable to environmental and behavioural intervention well into its course and in older age groups. It is also not necessarily "non-communicable", a qualifier often used for "chronic disease" (chronic non-communicable disease or CNCD) and often has inflammatory features, for example the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein is a predictor of macrovascular disease and ischaemic events can, in part, be prevented in the affected by influenzal vaccination. The nexus between immunodeficiency, inflammatory processes and nutritional status which is characteristic of "infective" and food-borne illness, is also more and more evident in "chronic disease". It may be more helpful to consider "chronic disease" as "eco-disease" with its environmental and behavioural contributors, and to regard that which is clearly nutritionally dependent as "eco-nutritional disease".

publication date

  • February 2004