A reliable, epidemiologic overview of how individuals and populations interact with their environments, with special emphasis on nutrition--plus some brief practical advice. Bland, professor of nutritional bio-chemistry at the Univ. of Puget Sound, views health from the established, preventive side: nutrition in particular and environment in general play crucial parts in the development and reversal of disease, and risks can be reduced if nutritional and other lifestyle changes are made. He explains how this view evolved as human diseases changed--i.e., as infectious diseases caused by individual organisms gave way to chronic degenerative diseases resulting from a variety of environmental factors interacting with the genetic make-up of the individual. Diet, Bland points out, is one of the biggest areas for health improvement and, thus, reduction of risk of disease. Most interesting here is the connection he makes between America's eating habits and malnutrition: rather than the Third-World image of malnutrition, we have obesity--the ""ultimate manifestation of the malnutrition of overconsumption/undernutrition."" Our problem is rooted in the way our foods are processed. Because of the antibiotics and hormones given to livestock, because of the ubiquitous additives and the way we prepare our food, we can no longer perceive tastes other than sweet and salty; and since customers can't judge quality by taste, manufacturers can sell food of lower nutrient quality and higher caloric content. In the course of the book, the major new developments are described (notably, how to prevent diseases such as cancer by avoiding certain foods), and an appendix provides forms and recipes to help evaluate and change lifestyle and eating habits. Other books, however, offer more--and more useful--advice (most recently, Cheryl Corbin's Nutrition, 1980, p. 1490); what's consequential and thought-provoking here are the reasons to change, and to foster change.