Dietary Habits: Food for Thought

The human diet varies dramatically across the globe and, in developed countries, has changed over the years.  As one who grew up in the American Midwest during the middle of the 20th Century, I consumed a "meat and potatoes" diet; vegetables, when served, came in a can and fruit consumption was primarily limited to orange juice, apples and grapes.  I was in college before I ate my first salad.

Most humans have had similar experiences; diets correlate with one's cultural background and, like many deep-seated beliefs, go unchallenged until that individual is exposed to persons from other regions of the country or the globe.  Indeed, many of us first experience this disruption when we become engaged or married and must confront food that is "foreign" to our taste.

Of most significance is the fact that dietary habits are established in childhood; depending on one's cultural background, such habits may be healthy or unhealthy and, once ingrained, they may be difficult to change.  While it is reasonable to maintain some cultural traditions, parents must take responsibility for instilling healthy dietary habits in their children, a commitment that will have long term positive effects and, hopefully, be extended through the coming generations.