Chapter 7: Healthy Eating

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Belloc and Breslow (1972) listed 7 habits associated with general health. These are referred to as the “Alameda 7.”

Healthy habits:

(1) having never smoked

(2) drinking less than 5 standard drinks at one sitting

(3) exercising

(4) sleeping 7-8 hours a night

(5) maintaining a desirable weight for height

(6) eating breakfast regularly and not skipping meals

(7) having a good diet, avoiding snacks


• The level of exercise varies with age. For an elderly individual, light exercise (walking, gardening, etc.) at least once a week may be sufficient.

• Desirable weight for height could be expressed in the body mass index (BMI). The Metropolitan Life Tables also can be used.


• This leaves out quite a few unhealthy habits (unprotected sex with multiple partners, intravenous drug abuse, driving without a seat belt, etc.).

• Control of concurrent disease (diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, etc.) is not listed.

• While a little alcohol intake is considered beneficial, this would allow 4 drinks at a sitting (with several sittings per day).


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