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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 313-314

Nutrition and fitness: Cultural, genetic and metabolic aspects

Faculty of Sports Medicine, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar 143 005, India

Date of Web Publication7-Sep-2012

Correspondence Address:
Jaspal S Sandhu
Faculty of Sports Medicine, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar 143 005
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Sandhu JS. Nutrition and fitness: Cultural, genetic and metabolic aspects. Indian J Med Res 2012;136:313-4

How to cite this URL:
Sandhu JS. Nutrition and fitness: Cultural, genetic and metabolic aspects. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2021 May 7];136:313-4. Available from:

Nutrition and fitness: Cultural, genetic and metabolic aspects (World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics), vol. 98. A.P. Simopoulos, editor (Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland) 2008. XVI + 260 pages. Price: US$ 268.00 / EUR 190.00 /US$ 268.00

ISBN 978-3-8055-8530-9

The book brings together and extends the scientific research in the field of nutrition and fitness which till date is contentious. It is a pioneering work done in the field of nutrition and fitness. The concept of positive health is contemporary and the authors have addressed the issues pertaining to the triad of nutrition, genetics and sports in a fresh, exclusive and commendable manner. The book divided into 13 chapters covers very concisely the multitude aspects governing the nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics, physical activity and health concerns. It addresses the factors concerning the role of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in health, genetic predisposition for cardiovascular diseases, genotype influence on health and nutrition, description of different types of diet on genotype, role of nutrition in prevention of chronic diseases, exercise and obesity, gastrointestinal cancer and its relation with nutrition, metabolic syndrome and its control, role of government in nutrition and fitness, global nutrition problems and perspective on exercise, exercise physiology and prescription.

The first chapter explicitly explains the history of sports participation and nutrition from 776 BC to 21 st century. The author provides insight into the Greek civilization and existence of sports which symbolizes the concept of fitness and good health since then. The concept of diet does not solely mean food, rather it implies to lifestyle, nutrition and exercise. The text thoroughly explains the need for healthy diet, lifestyle modifications and culture influence in achieving positive health. The role of different types of supplementation in relation to physical activity and health has been explained.

The second and third chapters illustrate the role of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in health. The emphasis on the role of exercise and physical activity in increasing the omega-3 fatty acids concentration was also well explained.

The chapter four specifically enlightens the genetic risk factors for cardio vascular diseases (CVD). Family based chromosomal linkages, candidate gene and whole genome studies were analyzed in depth to devise newer treatment approaches to tackle these life threatening issues. The genetic influence and complexity at each subsequent stage of cardio vascular disease have been thoroughly explained and the study successfully highlights the role of and paves the way for genetic approach to deal with cardiovascular diseases.

In the fifth chapter the focus is on the genetics of apolipoprotein (Apo) polymorphism with special mention to ApoE and its alleles. An association between ApoE genotype and health has been evidenced. But certainly it is a known fact that chronic diseases are multifactorial and multigenic, thus solely relying upon the ApoE genotype for health and disease prevention cannot be justified.

In chapters sixth to ninth, the authors have convincingly explained about the diseases related to lifestyle. The sedentary lifestyle is coming into existing due to various commodities used by people for comfort. It is well documented that nutrition holds key importance in prevention and treatment of various diseases like CVD, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and gastrointestinal cancers. Nutrition directly relates to the choice of food intake and in conditions like GI cancers the association between diet, related lifestyle parameters and multiple ethnicities has been very well reflected. The book also illustrates with examples how diet is related to different type of ecosystems. Mediterranean food and diet have been diversely studied with respect to climate, agriculture and ecosystems for its impact on chronic diseases. The author has affirmed the necessity of exercise in prevention and treatment of obesity as well as documented the psychological benefits of exercise in maintenance as well as in increasing the life expectancy.

Chapter 10 explains the role of government in enhancing the nutritional status of individuals. The findings are primarily based on UK government policies and their interventions. Special mention has been given to the WHO policies for the improvement of health and nutrition of individuals.

Chapter 11 puts forth the issues of health and nutrition and also reflects the view of food and agriculture organization of United Nations. It throws light on Global Nutrition Problems in relation to nutrition, overweight and obesity. Global overview of food and nutrition has been effectively discussed especially focusing on the various developing nations of the world. Malnourishment as well as obesity which are the two extremes of energy has been dealt with effectively. Futuristic opinion for further improvement has also been appropriately provided.

The last chapter explains how the concept of exercise originated long before 1900 BC from Egyptian civilization. Concepts concerning health and disease have not been formed in a day; rather these are ever evolving and this has been thoroughly explained in the historical overview made by the author. Contributions of the renowned historians- Susruta, Caraka, Hippocrates and Galen have provided invaluable inputs to the present state of exercise and exercise physiology.

The book has certain limitations also, it would have been of great significance had there been a section discussing the overall reasons for poor nutrition and its subsequent effect on performance with regard to different age groups. Though the authors have very aptly enlightened upon the concepts of nutrition and fitness and the historical perspective, supplementary diet and its role in treatment and prevention of chronic disease has been discussed pertinently, the authors failed to mention the sources of good nutrition and the need for healthy diet for various populations including sportspersons.

While discussing about the fitness aspect related to the prevalent conditions- obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and gastrointestinal cancers, authors gave a suitable description but the psychological concern associated with nutrition intake and underlying mechanisms with these disorders has escaped mention. It would have been clinically more informative if a section discussing about the exercise prescription for these conditions and nutrition in the present scenario was included. Last, the government policies, primarily of UK have been discussed, but just the actions that have already been taken have been cited without paying regards to the shortcomings. It would certainly be more interesting if the prevailing conditions which need primary mention be discussed in an elaborative fashion in order to improve the conditions further. No insight has been given to the psychological causes of the nutritional disorders.

The issues addressed in the book are meaningfully thought at and are coherent with the global message the book is delivering. Data and reviews given are explanatory and support the conclusion.

This book is an indispensable asset for sports scientists, exercise physiologists, sports psychologists, nutritionists, doctors, sports physiotherapists to inculcate findings into their daily practice and lifestyle. This book is an excellent reading resource with easy accessibility which covers essential parameters about the positive health. The writing style is logical, clear, effective and well organized. The book is theoretically and experimentally rich, conceptual and can be recommended to medical and allied fraternity without hesitation.


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