Good physical health is central to happiness and well-being. Healthy people are generally more productive and live longer. An individual in good physical health has a body that works the way it was designed to function.

For a healthy life, you need to eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of physical exercise and effectively manage stress, all with the added goal of maintaining the body in ways that reduce the possibility of disease. Here's an overview of how diet, exercise and stress affect health, as well as guidelines for living a healthier life.

How diet affects health

Eating nutritious food is essential to good health. Food fuels the brain and the body. Children need to eat a healthy diet so they can grow and develop properly. The body needs nutrients, minerals and vitamins to function properly, and these come from eating a variety of healthy foods.

Healthy eating also decreases the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity. Adults who eat healthy foods tend to live longer because they reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Eating a well-balanced diet can help people with chronic