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Nutrition and Lifelong Wellbeing

Volume 4. Wellbeing in Later Life

Part 2. Factors Influencing Wellbeing

  1. C. Alexandra Munro,
  2. John C. Mathers

Published Online: 11 FEB 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118539415.wbwell083



How to Cite

Alexandra Munro, C. and Mathers, J. C. 2014. Nutrition and Lifelong Wellbeing. Wellbeing. 4:2:6:1–13.

Author Information

  1. Newcastle University, U.K.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 11 FEB 2014


Nutrition is critical for health and wellbeing at all stages of the life course from conception to the last breath because food supplies the substrates for energy production to power all body processes and specific molecules and ions for synthesis of cellular and extracellular structures, enzymes, signaling molecules, and other regulators. Across the life course, nutritional needs change in response to alterations in physiological processes, body composition, and physical activity and to address cellular and tissue damage resulting from lifestyle behaviors such as smoking and the damage which accumulates with age. Good nutrition in utero improves the likelihood of lifelong good health whereas excess adiposity at any stage of the life course is associated with reduced health and wellbeing. These observations provide a strong foundation for the development of dietary (and other lifestyle-based) interventions to improve health but effective interventions which produce sustained behavior change and health benefit at the community or population level remain a challenge. In addition, research is needed to reveal how exactly nutrition impacts on the aging process and to clarify the particular nutritional needs of the oldest old.