Factors affecting health & physical development

Updated April 17, 2017

There are many factors that affect health and physical development. While living a healthy, balanced lifestyle does not guarantee perfect lifelong wellness, it still reduces the chance of succumbing to a variety of health problems. Understanding the importance of nutrition, exercise and proper sleep can ensure less time spent in a doctor's office and more time spent enjoying life.

Nutrition and Health

According to oncologist Dr. Robert Avery, "The foods we eat are essential for good health ... diet boosts our immune systems and reduces inflammation and oxidation, and turns off bad genes." He explains how certain genes predispose the human body to many ailments, including cancer. However, he asserts simple foods such as olive oil, broccoli, cauliflower and green tea can shut down these bad genes. Developing and maintaining a strong immune system is also greatly dependent on nutrition. According to Avery, the human immune system is stronger "when our diet includes sources of vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, bioflavenoids, zinc, garlic, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and mushrooms (maitake, reishi, shiitake)."

Nutrition and Development

Nutrition is critical for good development, especially during the early childhood years. According to the World Bank, poor nutrition before the age of 8 "can impede behavioural and cognitive development, educability and reproductive health ..." Once human beings move toward adolescence, the damage caused by poor nutrition is serious. In fact, "once the effects of undernutrition are established in early childhood, they typically become permanent." Luckily, the World Bank also observes that if proper nutrition is introduced, especially during the preschool years, it can effectively save the child from future developmental problems.


According to the website, there are three major benefits to exercise. First, regular physical activity helps maintain a good mood. It stimulates certain brain chemicals that affect happiness and relaxation. In addition, exercise will help improve fitness and fight depression to develop a strong body and mind. Second, an active lifestyle will fight chronic diseases. Not only can exercise prevent or manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, but it also guards against osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Third, exercise is paramount when trying to lose and maintain weight.


Harvard Medical School outlines six reasons why enough sleep is important for both general health and physical development. First, it helps improve memory and retention of information. Second, sleep is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight. It does this by regulating the way the body processes carbohydrates and affects hormones that control appetite. Third, lack of sleep increases daytime drowsiness and reduces performance, thus increasing the chance of injury because of an accident. Fourth, improper sleep affects mood. It causes things like irritability and impatience, while negatively affecting concentration. Fifth, sleep is important for heart health. Sleep disorders have been known to causes problems like stress, hypertension and irregular heartbeat. Finally, proper sleep helps fight illness by increasing immune system strength and even preventing cancer.

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About the Author

Alex Saez is a writer who draws much of his information from his professional and academic experience. Saez holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Queen's University and an advanced diploma in business administration, with a focus on human resources, from St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario.