Beyond Calories: An Integrated Approach to Promote Health, Longevity, and Well-Being

Vol. 63, No. 1, 2017

Bertozzi B., Tosti V., Fontana L.


In 1948, the World Health Organization defined health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. Detractors claim that this definition of health is utopian and unrealistic. However, accumulating evidence from experimental studies suggests that aging is not inevitably linked with the development of chronic diseases, and the age-associated accumulation of molecular damage can be prevented or greatly delayed by dietary and genetic manipulations that downregulate key cellular nutrient-sensing pathways. Nonetheless, to obtain a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, we as human beings need to go beyond nutrition or pharmacological treatments and implement a combination of interventions that enhance not only our metabolic health but also our psychological, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development, our social relationships and cultural well-being. This perspective highlights a range of scientific research-based interventions that can potentially be used to promote human health and longevity. We will also briefly address the importance of environmental health in achieving this goal.


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