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Inadequate nutrition can cause illness. The inadequacy may concern the quantity or quality of dietary components.
As regards the quantitative aspect, what may determine the inadequacy is not so much the mass of the material introduced, as its caloric value.

The caloric needs of the individual subjects vary greatly in relation to organic constitution and hormonal balance e also depend on age, sex, physiological moment, period of the year, climate, from type of work performed.

The imbalance between energy introduction and consumption is a cause of overweight e obesity, growing diseases all over the world.

The most affected are adults, but cases are also increasing among children, which suggests that obesity will be one in the future major challenges for public health.

Overweight and obesity are defined based to the body mass index (BMI, Body mass index or IMC, body mass index), given by the
weight ratio in kg / height in m squared.

A BMI less than 19 denotes underweight and involves a moderate degree of risk; a value greater than 25 indicates overweight, which becomes obesity of various degree starting from the threshold of 30.

Beyond the quantitative aspect, in an adequate nutritional regime must take into account the quality of nutrients taken with food. Of particular relevance, as regards the relationship between diet and cardiovascular diseases, is the quality of fats consumed daily by diet.


These diseases are related to parameters such as the level of blood cholesterol and its forms (HDL, High density lipoprotein, and LDL, Low density lipoprotein), generally considered indicators of the degree of risk. Depending on the degree of saturation, fatty acids can be saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

The fats of animal origin are mainly saturated and one of them excess is positively related to the onset of cardiovascular disease, which is why this type of fat should be avoided and compensated with unsaturated fats of vegetable origin that they carry out a protective action for our cardiovascular system.


After cardiovascular diseases, tumors are one of the main causes of death in children Developed countries. It has been shown that a high fat diet increases the risk of cancer colon and, in the case of obesity, also prostate and endometrium, as well as, after menopause, to otherwise; a high consumption of salt or salted or smoked foods increases the risk of stomach cancer, while drinks and very hot foods favor the onset of neoplasms oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus; a high consumption of red meat seems associated with a modest increase in colorectal cancer risk, and it is also advisable to consume only occasionally grilled meat or fish.

On the contrary, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, with a more specific protective effect against tumors a load of colon, mouth, pharynx, larynx, lungs, stomach and probably also of pancreas, breast and bladder, and perhaps against cancer in general. Fruit and vegetables perform an action protective not only for the presence of antioxidant micronutrients – such as carotenes, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium – but also for the numerou micro-constituents, still not all identified, more or less present in the different products and currently defined as ‘bioactive’.

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