The Impact of Nutrition, Environment, and Lifestyle on Illness in America
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 An argument for a systems-approach to health that looks at ``the full spectrum of ills that are afflicting our planet, from the destruction of the seas and rain forests to the compromising of the human immune system.'' Beasley is director of Bard College Center's Institute of Health Policy and Practice. A distillation of a hefty 300,000-word Kellogg Foundation report (1989) on some ten years of Beasley's research, the result is a readable text that nevertheless still often overwhelms with disturbing data on the state of our planet and our species. Beasley examines the factors whose interaction largely determines our health: genetics, environment, nutrition--and lifestyle, which includes level of stress, physical activity, psychological attitudes, chemical dependencies, sexual behavior, exposure to violence, and patterns of sleeping, eating, and working. He then takes a critical look at the limitations of modern medicine's symptom/disease-oriented approach to illness, recommending instead a return to a more broad-based ``naturalistic'' approach to health, in which medical schools would provide sophisticated training in nutrition, environmental impacts, toxicology, addictions, and counseling of patients in order to prevent disease, not simply to diagnose and treat it. Beasley concludes with recommendations that individuals take certain steps to ensure good health--eliminating or reducing harmful habits, becoming knowledgeable about self-care, avoiding toxic substances in the environment, and improving nutrition. A disheartening look at the hazards to health we all face, and an urgent appeal to the medical community--and to the individual--to take action to deal with this sea of troubles.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-8129-1897-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1991