Eating is the activity of consuming food and its digestion. Among human beings, eating is a central part of home life and many social activities. The preparation and consumption of food also has many cultural components, and plays an important role in all human societies.
Most homes have a kitchen or cooking area devoted to preparation of meals and food, and many also have a dining room or another designated area for eating. Dishware, silverware, glassware for eating and cookware and other implements for cooking come in an almost infinite array of forms and sizes. Most societies also have restaurants and food vendors, so that people may eat when away from home, lack the time to prepare food, or wish to use eating as a social occasion. Occasionally, such as at potlucks and festivals, eating is in fact the primary purpose of the social gathering.
Most individual have fairly regular daily patterns of eating, and commonly most eating occurs during two to three meals per day, with snacks consisting of smaller amounts of food being consumed in between. The issue of healthy eating has long been a important concern to individuals and cultures. Among other practices, fasting, dieting, and vegetarianism are all techniques employed by individuals and encouraged by societies to increase longevity and health.
Physiologically, eating is generally triggered by hunger, but there are numerous physical and psychological conditions that can affect appetite and disrupt normal eating patterns. These include depression, food allergies, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, pituitary gland misfunction and other endocrine problems, and numerous other illnesses and eating disorders.
A chronic lack of nutritious food can cause various illnesses, and will eventually lead to starvation. When this happens in a locality on a massive scale it is considered a famine.
If eating and drinking is not possible, as is often the case when recovering from surgery, alternatives are enteral nutrition and parenteral nutrition.
Last updated: 06-01-2005 23:27:40
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46