In descending order, by date published.
Health organizations and providers recognize that health is more than the absence of illness or disease. Yet, there is no universal definition for health. One holistic way of thinking about health includes eight dimensions of wellness.
What influences health? People often think about the environment or lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, and sleep. What people may think about less is the effect family, friends, and social networks have on health. Relationships affect physical, mental, and social well-being. In fact, people with strong social connections live longer, healthier lives than those who have few or poor-quality relationships.
Historically, when talking about health, the focus has been on a single chronic disease, lifestyle factor such as nutrition or physical activity, and/or one's personal responsibility for health. However, many other factors influence health. Research shows that individual choices determine a person's health but so do the individual's surroundings.
Communities are powerful influencers of health. Community can describe people living in a specific place - like a neighborhood, zip code, county, or state. It can also describe a group of people who have shared attitudes, interests, or goals. Examples include connections through schools and religious institutions and social identities like gender, race, or political affiliation. These places and groups shape the ways in which people think and communicate about health.
Have you ever found yourself eating a bag of popcorn while watching a movie only to realize you have eaten all of it before you made it past the previews? This is an example of mindless eating, or eating without even realizing it.
Eating is one of the many ways we cope with negative emotions. Stress eating is just that-- "eating in response to acute or chronic stress or in response to negative emotional states" such as sadness or anger. Stress can cause some people to eat more and others to eat less. Some will reach for salty foods, and others will reach for sweets. No matter how stress affects your eating patterns, you are not alone.
Each five years, law requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review the latest science and update advice on what Americans should eat and drink. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are designed to provide current dietary advice to promote health, help reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutritional needs across the lifespan. The guidelines also serve as a foundation for federal food, nutrition, and health policies and programs like the National School Lunch Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to reduce hunger and increase food security through access to healthy, affordable food.