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The Role of Food, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1219

Essay

Introduction

Food is integrated into the life cycle in many different ways and represents a means of understanding the dynamics of human survival, entertainment, health, and general livelihood. Food products possess different meanings to different people and provide a basis for achieving sustenance, nutrition, routine bodily functions, and many non-physical responses that include psychological support and socialization. It is important to recognize some of the advantages and challenges that food presents throughout the life span and what is required to ensure that individuals are able to conduct their daily activities in the best possible manner. Food presents an opportunity to examine these concerns and to recognize its value in many important areas of the life span, as well as providing a basis for communication and sharing among human beings. Food is represented in a unique manner in each different stage of life, and some of these issues will be addressed in the following paragraphs.

Adolescence

During adolescence, food provides a basis for the exploration of new flavors, products, textures, and tastes for this age group. During this period, adolescents may engage in a variety of discoveries with food that may be partially based on individual curiosities, peer pressure, familial influences, and media messages, among others. For example, adolescents may share a pizza after school or have a hamburger with friends on the weekends as a social activity. At this life stage, it is important to develop an understanding of the role of food in daily living and to recognize its value in their lives. For adolescents, food plays a role in learning because it provides a reason to come together in the school cafeteria or in the classroom to develop friendships with other kids. This is an important opportunity for young people to be active and engaged in addressing relationships with other people and in supporting their personal growth and maturity on some level. In addition, food also engages adolescents in the beginning stages of discussing its importance to society and its value with respect to nutritional benefits. For example, learning about food and nutrition is essential to an adolescent’s understanding of food’s impact on health and wellbeing in different ways. Under these conditions, there must be a greater emphasis on the development of food lessons to accommodate the adolescent learning curve and to make a difference in their lives.

Adulthood

Throughout the adult years, food is strongly representative of a number of critical components of daily living and supports an environment in which they are able to communicate and share ideas, knowledge, thoughts, beliefs, and other information with others. Adults focus on food for a variety of reasons, including hunger, nutrition, and sustenance, but they also use food as a tool to socialize with friends or family members. Therefore, food plays the role of facilitator that is part of daily living in one form or another that impacts adult living. It supports a dynamic whereby friends can commiserate over lunch or dinner and share an experience. As a facilitator, food may be found on the road in a food truck or in a restaurant, and it enables adults to improve what might be perceived as a subpar experience into an optimal one. It is important for adults to take food seriously and to recognize how it benefits their ability to communicate with others, some of whom they might not have met in the past. This also reflects the importance of understanding how to promote decision-making among adults that are based upon food-based selections. This process is instrumental in supporting how adults interact with each other and what is required to have a shared experience.

Food also serves a purpose as a mobile tool, whereby it supports the ability of individuals to experience food on the go. Adults may purchase food items off of a food truck or on a street corner for consumption and may experience full enjoyment at a very high level. These experiences are often unique and have become increasingly common in many areas, serving as a resource in engaging adults with a common set of goals and objectives. This process is important because food becomes readily available in a mobile form without significant effort. Food must be mobile in different ways because it provides a basis for trying new products and types of foods that otherwise might not be considered, such as Indian food and grilled cheese in a mobile fashion. In this context, food provides a resource for adults to support their needs and in engaging them in learning how to identify food products in a mobile fashion.

Older Adulthood

For older adults, it is important to recognize that their food-based needs continue to evolve in many different ways. Their food requirements often diminish to lower levels and lower caloric intake, and furthermore, they are often no longer able to consume large meals. This is an important reminder of the relationship that older adults experience with respect to food and what is required to ensure that they obtain the proper meals as necessary. In some settings, food now becomes a chore to some degree, particularly if older adults have experienced a significant loss of appetite and no longer view food products in the same manner. It is important to recognize the ever-changing value of food in the lives of older adults and how they view food items in their current state relative to the value that they placed on food when they were younger. This is a necessary reminder that food may become a chore rather than an event that an individual looks forward to as part of a bigger experience.

For older adults, food also represents a moment in time that may be associated with positive memories from an earlier period of life, a period where there has been significant opportunity to participate in food experiences that were positive in nature and that provided value to their lives, such as during birthday parties for their children or holiday meals. However, in their current lives, food takes on an entirely different meaning and is less desirable at this stage of their lives. Food also serves as a risk factor in some cases, particularly when an older adult’s digestion is poor and he or she is unable to handle different types of food for medical reasons. Under these conditions, food becomes a burden that is difficult to overcome rather than a benefit. Older adults with limited cognitive abilities also experience other negative factors with respect to food and may not have any connection to it in any form, particularly if their cognition is severely limited on any level.

Conclusion

Food signifies different meanings to different people and represents a means of understanding its dynamic as part of a larger experience in different eras of the life span. Most importantly, food serves as a reminder of its value in developing relationships and in communication, as many people experience food with others in a public or private setting. This also demonstrates the importance of food as a product of one’s environment in many ways and its overall impact on the health and wellbeing of human beings. Food also has negative meanings for some people, yet it is a required necessity that must be consumed as part of daily living. Nonetheless, it represents many different things to many people and continues to be relevant throughout all stages of life.

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