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Introduction

Nutrition is the process of nourishing or being nourished, that is, the process of supplying what is necessary to sustain life. The nutrients required to sustain life and promote health and wellbeing are: Carbohydrate, Fat, Fibre, Protein, Water, Vitamins and minerals It is well accepted that nutrition is strongly linked to the major causes of ill health in Western countries. Many diseases common in Australia are "lifestyle" diseases related to what we choose to eat. They include: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eating disorders, being overweight and obesity.

These diseases have been shown to be linked to eating:

Many factors influence food choices, but a major area of concern is that of "body image". Australian adolescents, particularly females, incorrectly see themselves as underweight or overweight. Incorrect concerns about body image can lead to the use of dangerous diets and weight-loss methods, low self-esteem and eating disorders.

[Source: Nutrition: the inside story, 2003, Home Economics Institute of Australia Inc., Macquarie ACT.]

The Australian Government’s Department of Health maintains a website eatforhealth. The site includes detailed information about Australia’s Dietary Guidelines.  The Guide aims to promote healthy eating habits throughout life, which will assist in reducing the risk of health problems in later life, such as heart disease, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.


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It was noted in the 2012 Australian Year Book that 'many chronic diseases can be prevented, delayed or improved by addressing lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor diet, insufficient exercise or obesity.' The Year Book also shows that not many Australians actually meet the recommended dietary guidelines, which is unfortunately reflected in the rise of some of the diet-related diseases listed below.

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Read the personal narratives of some people who have dealt with and overcome eating disorders.

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Anorexia nervosa

Binge eating

 Bulimia