(picture from Mental Health Foundation Exec Summary 2006)
I coined this term recently while debating the reasons why some people seem unable to take on board what my partner termed “common sense”. We are bombarded with information as to how good nutrition and moderate exercise can prevent and combat many diseases such as heart, disease, cancers, those caused by obesity eg type-2 diabetes etc.
And yet, people continue to ignore this advice. They make extremely unwise choices. I’m not talking about the occasional blow-out meal or even binge-drinking weekend. It’s the relentless daily diet of processed foodstuffs consumed, despite the evidence seen in mirrors and provided by ever-tightening waistbands.
Someone we know, feeling a blood-sugar dip, had driven a round trip of 3 miles to buy a hot chocolate drink from McD’s. “That was an expensive hot chocolate” I had replied. They explained they had done it for “quickness”, and after retrying to make my point, I realised we didn’t appear to be speaking the same language at all. Why was that?
In addition to being assailed by positive nutritional advice, we are also battered by marketing from those food manufacturers and retailers. The ability to filter these messages and choose what will provide the best outcome is what I now call Nutrition Intelligence or Nutrition IQ.
If the baseline is 100, that would be someone who eats adequately, not gaining or losing weight or muscle and fat. They would have an intake of sufficient nutrients to maintain a basically healthy body. I guess there would be freely available and affordable foods and water.
Of course, when there are adverse factors and nutritional needs change, an above-100 score would be needed. Also, many people would wish to aim for optimal health – not just coping. I believe we mostly have that innate intelligence but the above-mentioned marketing negates it. As does the lack of relevant education and guidance.
This latter part is where my role fits into the equation as I can provide support until somebody’s own knowledge has caught up with their needs.
I deliberately use the term “somebody”, as I think it is a whole-body knowledge development that may be required. Our gut and other organs tell us what is needed – and we just need to listen!