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Starts at $9.98 per contact hour
Min. Hours $$/Hr
4 hours $8.98
8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

Nutrition, Toxins, and Chronic Disease

2.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe the extent and type of various common chronic disease; identify toxins and nutritional factors that contribute to the incidence of chronic disease; and state ways to assess, manage, and/or prevent the incidence of chronic diseases.
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Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems both in the United States and worldwide. Globally, hundreds of millions of people are affected by chronic diseases. The personal, social, and community costs of these diseases range in the billions of dollars every year. People with chronic diseases often suffer a slow, debilitating, decline of overall health and well-being. However, many chronic diseases can be prevented via a nutritious diet, healthy lifestyle, and avoidance or reduced exposure to environmental toxins.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the extent and types of chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, chronic lung diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and neurodevelopmental disabilities.
  • Identify common toxins and their impact on the most common chronic diseases.
  • Identify common nutritional effects on the most common chronic diseases.
  • List ways to assess, manage, and/or prevent or reduce the incidence of chronic disease.

Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis, are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems both in the United States and worldwide. In the United States, approximately 50% of all adults (117 million people) have one or more chronic health conditions, and 25% of adults had two or more chronic health conditions. Seven of the top 10 causes of death are chronic diseases. Two of them—heart disease and cancer—account for nearly 48% of all deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016).

Up to the 1900s, most diseases were infectious in nature, such as typhoid, pneumonia, tuberculosis, smallpox, diphtheria, etc. These infectious diseases were responsible for most deaths both in the United States and worldwide. As a result of progress in farming methods, medical science, and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries, infections have been largely managed or eliminated. Chronic diseases, however, have taken their place (Heyen, 2007).

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that chronic diseases cause approximately 35 million deaths worldwide annually. Half of all individuals who die from a chronic disease are under age 70, and half are women (WHO, 2016). This number is double the number of deaths from all infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria), maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined. Of those 35 million deaths, 80% occur in low and middle-income countries (WHO, 2016).

WHO warns that chronic, noncommunicable diseases are rapidly becoming epidemic worldwide (Sears & Genuis, 2012). Chronic disease is a key factor in poverty and hinders the economic development of many of low- and middle-income countries. Poor people have limited choices in where they live, their environment, their diet, and the toxins to which they are exposed (WHO, 2016).

In the United States, chronic diseases and the health-risk behaviors that cause them cost billions of dollars. These costs are due to health care expenses, lost or decreased workplace productivity, and crimes related to excessive drinking (CDC, 2016). The social, political, and economic burden of chronic diseases are enormous and serious (WHO, 2005):

  • They have a major adverse effect on the quality of life of affected individuals and their families.
  • They cause premature and often prolonged and painful deaths.
  • They create large adverse (and underappreciated) economic, social, and political effects on families, communities, and societies in general.

Health-risk behaviors (modifiable behaviors) that cause chronic diseases are numerous and include the following (CDC, 2016):

  • Lack of adequate physical activity
  • Lack of muscle-strengthening physical activity
  • Uncontrolled or poorly controlled hypertension, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels
  • Smoking and drug abuse
  • Consuming too much sodium
  • Eating less than the minimum recommendations of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Drinking too much alcohol

In addition to health risk behaviors, there are other causes of chronic diseases, including environmental exposure to toxins in air, water, and food. In the United States alone, chronic disease in children related to environmental factors (such as lead poisoning, prenatal methyl mercury exposure, childhood cancer, respiratory disorders such as asthma, and neurocognitive disorders such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) amounted to more than $76 billion in 2008 in the United States alone. (Sears & Genuis, 2012).

The average human lifespan has lengthened through recent history but the rising rates of chronic diseases in younger and younger people mean that increasing numbers of individuals are spending more of their lives coping with sickness. rather than enjoying health. Chronic diseases associated with obesity may even mean that individuals, for the first time in human history, will live a shorter period of time than their parents (Sears & Genuis, 2012).

Many factors contribute to major chronic diseases. The following information will focus specifically on the impact of food and water (and associated toxins) on chronic disease.

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

June 28, 2019

  • Caroline Young, MPH
  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.