Fact sheet No. 394
Consuming a healthy diet throughout the life-course helps prevent malnutrition in all its forms as well as a range of noncommunicable diseases and conditions. But the increased production of processed food, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars or salt/sodium, and many do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and dietary fibre such as whole grains.
The exact make-up of a diversified, balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on the individual needs (e.g. age, gender, lifestyle, degree of physical activity), cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs. But basic principles of what constitute a healthy diet remain the same.