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There have been many wonderful improvements in the program in the last couple of years. I have had some astounding results. Exclusive breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing the ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process, with important implications for the health of mothers. This includes the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; the capacity of the government to formulate and implement sound policies effectively; and the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them. Shekar M, Lee Y-K. Frequently asked questions , The World Health Report
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Child Growth Standards, publications and peer-reviewed articles. Technical Report Series No. Geneva, World Health Organization, Joint child malnutrition estimates - Levels and trends. Global Targets to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition. Global Nutrition Targets World Health Organization, Interventions by global target. No increase in childhood overweight.
What does this indicator tell us? Anaemia has a wide variety of causes. Other conditions malaria and other infections, genetic disorders, cancer also play a role. How is it defined? Anaemia is defined as a haemoglobin concentration below a specified cut-off point, which can change according to the age, gender, physiological status, smoking habits and altitude at which the population being assessed lives.
Tests to measure haemoglobin levels are easy to administer. The test could be easily integrated into regular health or prenatal visits or household surveys to capture women of reproductive age, though one needs to consider the cost of the equipment and regular calibration. Anaemia is associated with increased risks for maternal and child mortality. Iron-deficiency anaemia reduces the work capacity of individuals and entire populations, with serious consequences for the economy and national development.
In addition, the negative consequences of iron-deficiency anaemia on the cognitive and physical development of children and on physical performance - particularly the work productivity of adults - are major concerns. Anaemia is a global problem affecting all countries.
Resource-poor areas are often more heavily impacted due to the prevalence of infectious diseases. The main risk factors for iron-deficiency anaemia include a low dietary intake of iron or poor absorption of iron from diets rich in phytates or phenolic compounds. Population groups with greater iron requirements, such as growing children and pregnant women, are particularly at risk.
Overall, the most vulnerable, poorest and least educated groups are disproportionately affected by iron-deficiency anaemia. No public health problem. Mild public health problem. Moderate public health problem. Severe public health problem. Stevens GA et al. Global, regional, and national trends in haemoglobin concentration and prevalence of total and severe anaemia in children and pregnant and non-pregnant women for Lancet Global Health ; ; 1: Data about haemoglobin and anaemia for women of childbearing age 15—49 years were estimated for each country and for each year between and using survey data obtained from population-representative data sources from countries worldwide.
A Bayesian hierarchical mixture model was used to estimate haemoglobin distributions and systematically addressed missing data, non-linear time trends, and representativeness of data sources. More information on the methodology can be found in: Haemoglobin concentrations for the diagnosis of anaemia and assessment of severity. Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System. At population level, the proportion of infants with a low birth weight is an indicator of a multifaceted public health problem that includes long-term maternal mal nutrition , ill health and poor health care in pregnancy.
Low birth weight is more common in developing than developed countries. Low birth weight is included as a primary outcome indicator in the core set of indicators for the Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework.
Low birth weight is caused by intrauterine growth restriction, prematurity or both. It contributes to a range of poor health outcomes: Low-birth-weight infants are approximately 20 times more likely to die than heavier infants. However, data on low birth weight in developing countries is often limited because a significant portion of deliveries are done in homes or small health facilities where cases of infants with low birth weight often go unreported.
These cases are not reflected in official figures and may lead to a significant underestimation of low birth weight prevalence. Feto-maternal nutrition and low birth weight. Low birth weight policy brief. The caring practice indicators for infant and young child feeding available on the NLIS country profiles include:. Early initiation of breastfeeding is defined as the proportion of children born in the past 24 months who were put to the breast within 1 hour of birth.
Breastfeeding contributes to saving children's lives, and there is evidence that delayed initiation of breastfeeding increases their risk for mortality. Exclusive breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing the ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process, with important implications for the health of mothers.
An expert review of evidence showed that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter, infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. Breast milk is the natural first food for infants. It provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life.
It continues to provide up to one half or more of a child's nutritional needs during the second half of the first year and up to one third during the second year of life. Breast milk promotes sensory and cognitive development and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, and leads to quicker recovery from illness.
Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers, by helping to space children, reducing their risks for ovarian and breast cancers and saving family and national resources. It is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment. The indicator is the percentage of infants who start solid, semisolid or soft foods at between 6 and 8 months of age.
WHO recommends starting complementary feeding at 6 months of age. It is defined as the proportion of infants aged months who receive solid, semisolid or soft foods. When breast milk alone no longer meets the nutritional needs of the infant, complementary foods should be added.
The transition from exclusive breastfeeding to family foods, referred to as 'complementary feeding', typically occurs between 6 and months of age. This is a very vulnerable period, and it is the time when malnutrition often starts, contributing significantly to the high prevalence of malnutrition among children under 5 worldwide.
This indicator is the percentage of children aged months who receive a minimum acceptable diet. A minimum acceptable diet is essential to ensure appropriate growth and development for feeding infants and children aged months. Without adequate diversity and meal frequency, infants and young children are vulnerable to malnutrition, especially stunting and micronutrient deficiencies, and to increased morbidity and mortality. Infant and young child feeding list of publications.
The optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding: Children with diarrhoea receiving oral rehydration therapy. This indicator is the prevalence of children with diarrhoea who received oral rehydration therapy. It is the proportion of children aged 0—59 months who had diarrhoea and were treated with oral rehydration salts or an appropriate household solution. The terms used for diarrhoea should cover the expressions used for all forms of diarrhoea, including bloody stools consistent with dysentery and watery stools, and should encompasses mothers' definitions as well as local terms.
Diarrhoeal diseases remain one of the major causes of mortality among children under 5, accounting for 1. As oral rehydration therapy is a critical component of effective management of diarrhoea, monitoring coverage with this highly cost—effective intervention indicates progress on an intermediate outcome indicator of the Global Nutrition Targets, prevalence of diarrhoea in children under 5 years of age. Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework: Operational guidance for tracking progress in meeting targets for Moderate and severe thinness, underweight, overweight, obesity.
The values for body mass index BMI are age-independent for adult populations and are the same for both genders. BMI may not, however, correspond to the same degree of fatness in different populations due, in part, to different body proportions. The health risks associated with increasing BMI are continuous, and the interpretation of BMI grading in relation to risk may differ for different populations. Proportions of underweight in women aged years and of overweight in women aged 18 years or more are included as intermediate outcome indicators in the core set of indicators for the Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework.
BMI is a simple index of weight-to-height commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adults. For example, an adult who weighs 58 kg and whose height is 1. Moderate and severe thinness: It has been linked to clear-cut increases in illness in adults studied in three continents and is therefore a further reasonable value to choose as a cut-off point for moderate risk.
The cut-off point of The proportion of the population with a low BMI that is considered a public health problem is closely linked to the resources available for correcting the problem, the stability of the environment and government priorities.
In some populations, the metabolic consequences of weight gain start at modest levels of overweight. The costs attributable to obesity are high, not only in terms of premature death and health care but also in terms of disability and a diminished quality of life. Low prevalence warning sign, monitoring required. Medium prevalence poor situation. High prevalence serious situation.
Very high prevalence critical situation. Worldwide trends in body-mass index, underweight, overweight, and obesity from to Obesity and other diet related chronic diseases, list of publications. Halt the rise in diabetes and obesity. Adolescent birth rate per 1, women aged years. The adolescent birth rate, technically known as the age-specific fertility rate provides a basic measure of reproductive health focusing on a vulnerable group of adolescent women.
The indicator adolescent birth rate per 1, women aged years is included as an intermediate outcome indicator in the core set of indicators for the Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework.
It is also referred to as the age-specific fertility rate for women aged There is substantial agreement in the literature that women who become pregnant and give birth very early in their reproductive lives are subject to higher risks of complications or even death during pregnancy and birth and their children are also more vulnerable. Furthermore, women having children at an early age experience a curtailment of their opportunities for socio-economic improvement, particularly because young mothers are unlikely to keep on studying and, if they need to work, may find it especially difficult to combine family and work responsibilities.
The adolescent birth rate provides also indirect evidence on access to reproductive health since the youth, and in particular unmarried adolescent women, often experience difficulties in access to reproductive health care. Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. Adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Moderate and severe thinness, underweight, overweight, obesity What do these indicators tell us?
Overweight in school-age children and adolescents. This indicator reflects the percentage of school-age children and adolescents years who are classified as overweight based on age and sex specific values for body mass index BMI. Overweight indicates excess body weight for a given height from fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these factors, whilst obesity is defined as having excess body fat.
The immediate consequences of overweight and obesity in school-age children and adolescents include greater risk of asthma and cognitive impairment, in addition to the social and economic consequences for the child, its family and the society. In the long term, overweight and obesity in children increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, respiratory disease, mental health, and reproductive disorders later in life.
Furthermore, obesity and overweight track over the life course — an overweight adolescent girl is more likely to become an overweight woman and, thus, her baby is likely to have a heavier birth weight.
Growth reference years. Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. Infant and young child feeding. The recommendations for feeding infants and young children 6—23 months include: The caring practice indicators for infant and young child feeding available on the NLIS country profiles include: Early initiation of breastfeeding. This indicator is the percentage of infants who are put to the breast within 1 hour of birth. Infants under 6 months who are exclusively breastfed.
This indicator is the percentage of infants aged 0—5 months who are exclusively breastfed. It is the proportion of infants aged 0—5 months who are fed exclusively on breast milk and no other food or drink, including water. The infant is however, allowed to receive ORS and drops and syrups containing vitamins, minerals and medicine.
Infants aged 6—8 months who receive solid, semisolid or soft foods. It is defined as the proportion of infants aged 6—8 months who receive solid, semisolid or soft foods. Children aged 6—23 months who receive a minimum dietary diversity. This indicator is the percentage of children aged 6—23 months who receive a minimum dietary diversity. As per revised recommendation by TEAM in June , dietary diversity is present when the diet contained five or more of the following food groups: Children aged 6—23 months who receive a minimum acceptable diet.
This indicator is the percentage of children aged 6—23 months who receive a minimum acceptable diet. Proportion of children aged months who receive a minimum acceptable diet is included as a process indicator in the core set of indicators for the Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework.
The composite indicator of a minimum acceptable diet is calculated from: Dietary diversity is present when the diet contained four or more of the following food groups: The minimum daily meal frequency is defined as: A minimum acceptable diet is essential to ensure appropriate growth and development for feeding infants and children aged 6—23 months.
Source of all infant and young child feeding indicators. Infant and Young Child Feeding database. Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework. Improved sanitation facilit ies and drinking-water sources. These indicators are the percentage of population with access to an improved drinking-water source and improved sanitation facilities.
Improved drinking-water sources are defined in terms of the types of technology and levels of services that are likely to provide safe water. Improved water sources include household connections, public standpipes, boreholes, protected dug wells, protected springs and rainwater collection. Unimproved water sources are unprotected wells, unprotected springs, vendor-provided water, bottled water unless water for other uses is available from an improved source and tanker truck-provided water.
In the early 20th century, Carl von Voit and Max Rubner independently measured caloric energy expenditure in different species of animals, applying principles of physics in nutrition. In , Edith G. Willcock and Frederick Hopkins showed that the amino acid tryptophan aids the well-being of mice but it did not assure their growth.
Babcock and Edwin B. Hart started the cow feeding, single-grain experiment , which took nearly four years to complete.
In , Casimir Funk coined the term vitamin , a vital factor in the diet, from the words "vital" and "amine," because these unknown substances preventing scurvy, beriberi, and pellagra , were thought then to be derived from ammonia. The vitamins were studied in the first half of the 20th century. In , Elmer McCollum and Marguerite Davis discovered the first vitamin, fat-soluble vitamin A , then water-soluble vitamin B in ; now known to be a complex of several water-soluble vitamins and named vitamin C as the then-unknown substance preventing scurvy.
In , Sir Edward Mellanby incorrectly identified rickets as a vitamin A deficiency because he could cure it in dogs with cod liver oil. Bishop discover vitamin E as essential for rat pregnancy, originally calling it "food factor X" until In , Hart discovered that trace amounts of copper are necessary for iron absorption. In , Albert Szent-Györgyi isolated ascorbic acid , and in proved that it is vitamin C by preventing scurvy.
In , he synthesized it, and in , he won a Nobel Prize for his efforts. Szent-Györgyi concurrently elucidated much of the citric acid cycle. In the s, William Cumming Rose identified essential amino acids , necessary protein components that the body cannot synthesize. In , Underwood and Marston independently discovered the necessity of cobalt. In , Eugene Floyd DuBois showed that work and school performance are related to caloric intake.
In , Erhard Fernholz discovered the chemical structure of vitamin E and then he tragically disappeared. In , rationing in the United Kingdom during and after World War II took place according to nutritional principles drawn up by Elsie Widdowson and others.
In , The U. Department of Agriculture introduced the Food Guide Pyramid. The list of nutrients that people are known to require is, in the words of Marion Nestle , "almost certainly incomplete". Some nutrients can be stored - the fat-soluble vitamins - while others are required more or less continuously.
Poor health can be caused by a lack of required nutrients, or for some vitamins and minerals, too much of a required nutrient. The macronutrients are carbohydrates , fiber , fats , protein , and water. Some of the structural material can be used to generate energy internally, and in either case it is measured in Joules or kilocalories often called "Calories" and written with a capital C to distinguish them from little 'c' calories. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water do not provide energy, but are required for other reasons.
Molecules of carbohydrates and fats consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Carbohydrates range from simple monosaccharides glucose, fructose and galactose to complex polysaccharides starch. Fats are triglycerides , made of assorted fatty acid monomers bound to a glycerol backbone.
Some fatty acids, but not all, are essential in the diet: Protein molecules contain nitrogen atoms in addition to carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.
The fundamental components of protein are nitrogen-containing amino acids , some of which are essential in the sense that humans cannot make them internally. Some of the amino acids are convertible with the expenditure of energy to glucose and can be used for energy production, just as ordinary glucose, in a process known as gluconeogenesis.
By breaking down existing protein, the carbon skeleton of the various amino acids can be metabolized to intermediates in cellular respiration; the remaining ammonia is discarded primarily as urea in urine. Carbohydrates may be classified as monosaccharides , disaccharides , or polysaccharides depending on the number of monomer sugar units they contain. They constitute a large part of foods such as rice , noodles , bread , and other grain -based products, also potatoes , yams, beans, fruits, fruit juices and vegetables.
Monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides contain one, two, and three or more sugar units, respectively. Polysaccharides are often referred to as complex carbohydrates because they are typically long, multiple branched chains of sugar units. Traditionally, simple carbohydrates are believed to be absorbed quickly, and therefore to raise blood-glucose levels more rapidly than complex carbohydrates. This, however, is not accurate.
Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that is incompletely absorbed in humans and in some animals. Like all carbohydrates, when it is metabolized it can produce four Calories kilocalories of energy per gram. However, in most circumstances it accounts for less than that because of its limited absorption and digestibility.
Dietary fiber consists mainly of cellulose, a large carbohydrate polymer which is indigestible as humans do not have the required enzymes to disassemble it. There are two subcategories: Whole grains, fruits especially plums , prunes , and figs , and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber.
There are many health benefits of a high-fiber diet. Dietary fiber helps reduce the chance of gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and diarrhea by increasing the weight and size of stool and softening it. Insoluble fiber, found in whole wheat flour , nuts and vegetables, especially stimulates peristalsis ;— the rhythmic muscular contractions of the intestines, which move digest along the digestive tract. Soluble fiber, found in oats, peas, beans, and many fruits, dissolves in water in the intestinal tract to produce a gel that slows the movement of food through the intestines.
This may help lower blood glucose levels because it can slow the absorption of sugar. Additionally, fiber, perhaps especially that from whole grains, is thought to possibly help lessen insulin spikes, and therefore reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The link between increased fiber consumption and a decreased risk of colorectal cancer is still uncertain.
A molecule of dietary fat typically consists of several fatty acids containing long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms , bonded to a glycerol. They are typically found as triglycerides three fatty acids attached to one glycerol backbone. Fats may be classified as saturated or unsaturated depending on the detailed structure of the fatty acids involved.
Saturated fats have all of the carbon atoms in their fatty acid chains bonded to hydrogen atoms, whereas unsaturated fats have some of these carbon atoms double-bonded , so their molecules have relatively fewer hydrogen atoms than a saturated fatty acid of the same length.
Unsaturated fats may be further classified as monounsaturated one double-bond or polyunsaturated many double-bonds. Furthermore, depending on the location of the double-bond in the fatty acid chain, unsaturated fatty acids are classified as omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat with trans -isomer bonds; these are rare in nature and in foods from natural sources; they are typically created in an industrial process called partial hydrogenation.
There are nine kilocalories in each gram of fat. Fatty acids such as conjugated linoleic acid , catalpic acid, eleostearic acid and punicic acid , in addition to providing energy, represent potent immune modulatory molecules.
Saturated fats typically from animal sources have been a staple in many world cultures for millennia. Saturated and some trans fats are typically solid at room temperature such as butter or lard , while unsaturated fats are typically liquids such as olive oil or flaxseed oil.
Trans fats are very rare in nature, and have been shown to be highly detrimental to human health, but have properties useful in the food processing industry, such as rancidity resistance.
Most fatty acids are non-essential, meaning the body can produce them as needed, generally from other fatty acids and always by expending energy to do so. However, in humans, at least two fatty acids are essential and must be included in the diet. An appropriate balance of essential fatty acids— omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids —seems also important for health, although definitive experimental demonstration has been elusive.
Both of these "omega" long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are substrates for a class of eicosanoids known as prostaglandins , which have roles throughout the human body. They are hormones , in some respects. The omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid EPA , which can be made in the human body from the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid ALA , or taken in through marine food sources, serves as a building block for series 3 prostaglandins e.
The omega-6 dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid DGLA serves as a building block for series 1 prostaglandins e. An appropriately balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 partly determines the relative production of different prostaglandins, which is one reason why a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is believed important for cardiovascular health.
In industrialized societies, people typically consume large amounts of processed vegetable oils, which have reduced amounts of the essential fatty acids along with too much of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, the conversion desaturation of DGLA to AA is controlled by the enzyme deltadesaturase , which in turn is controlled by hormones such as insulin up-regulation and glucagon down-regulation.
The amount and type of carbohydrates consumed, along with some types of amino acid, can influence processes involving insulin, glucagon, and other hormones; therefore, the ratio of omega-3 versus omega-6 has wide effects on general health, and specific effects on immune function and inflammation , and mitosis i.
Proteins are structural materials in much of the animal body e. They also form the enzymes that control chemical reactions throughout the body. Each protein molecule is composed of amino acids , which are characterized by inclusion of nitrogen and sometimes sulphur these components are responsible for the distinctive smell of burning protein, such as the keratin in hair.
The body requires amino acids to produce new proteins protein retention and to replace damaged proteins maintenance. As there is no protein or amino acid storage provision, amino acids must be present in the diet. Excess amino acids are discarded, typically in the urine. For all animals, some amino acids are essential an animal cannot produce them internally and some are non-essential the animal can produce them from other nitrogen-containing compounds.
About twenty amino acids are found in the human body, and about ten of these are essential and, therefore, must be included in the diet. A diet that contains adequate amounts of amino acids especially those that are essential is particularly important in some situations: A complete protein source contains all the essential amino acids; an incomplete protein source lacks one or more of the essential amino acids.
It is possible with protein combinations of two incomplete protein sources e. However, complementary sources of protein do not need to be eaten at the same meal to be used together by the body. Water is excreted from the body in multiple forms; including urine and feces , sweating , and by water vapour in the exhaled breath.
Therefore, it is necessary to adequately rehydrate to replace lost fluids. Early recommendations for the quantity of water required for maintenance of good health suggested that 6—8 glasses of water daily is the minimum to maintain proper hydration. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods. For healthful hydration, the current EFSA guidelines recommend total water intakes of 2. These reference values include water from drinking water, other beverages, and from food.
The EFSA panel also determined intakes for different populations. Recommended intake volumes in the elderly are the same as for adults as despite lower energy consumption, the water requirement of this group is increased due to a reduction in renal concentrating capacity.
Dehydration and over-hydration - too little and too much water, respectively - can have harmful consequences. Drinking too much water is one of the possible causes of hyponatremia , i. Pure ethanol provides 7 calories per gram. For distilled spirits , a standard serving in the United States is 1. A 5 ounce serving of wine contains to calories.
A 12 ounce serving of beer contains 95 to calories. Alcoholic beverages are considered empty calorie foods because other than calories, these contribute no essential nutrients. The micronutrients are minerals , vitamins , and others. Dietary minerals are inorganic chemical elements required by living organisms,  other than the four elements carbon , hydrogen , nitrogen , and oxygen that are present in nearly all organic molecules. The term "mineral" is archaic, since the intent is to describe simply the less common elements in the diet.
Some are heavier than the four just mentioned, including several metals , which often occur as ions in the body. Some dietitians recommend that these be supplied from foods in which they occur naturally, or at least as complex compounds, or sometimes even from natural inorganic sources such as calcium carbonate from ground oyster shells. Some minerals are absorbed much more readily in the ionic forms found in such sources. On the other hand, minerals are often artificially added to the diet as supplements; the most famous is likely iodine in iodized salt which prevents goiter.
Many elements are essential in relative quantity; they are usually called "bulk minerals". Some are structural, but many play a role as electrolytes. Many elements are required in trace amounts, usually because they play a catalytic role in enzymes.
Vitamins are essential nutrients,  necessary in the diet for good health. Vitamin D is an exception, as it can be synthesized in the skin in the presence of UVB radiation , and many animal species can synthesize vitamin C. Vitamin deficiencies may result in disease conditions, including goitre , scurvy , osteoporosis , impaired immune system, disorders of cell metabolism, certain forms of cancer, symptoms of premature aging, and poor psychological health , among many others.
Phytochemicals such as polyphenols are compounds produced naturally in plants phyto means "plant" in Greek.
In general, the term is used to refer to compounds which do not appear to be nutritionally essential and yet may have positive impacts on health. To date, there is no conclusive evidence in humans that polyphenols or other non-nutrient compounds from plants have health benefit effects.
While initial studies sought to reveal if nutrient antioxidant supplements might promote health, one meta-analysis concluded that supplementation with vitamins A and E and beta-carotene did not convey any benefits and may in fact increase risk of death. Vitamin C and selenium supplements did not impact mortality rate. Health effects of non-nutrient phytochemicals such as polyphenols were not assessed in this review. Animal intestines contain a large population of gut flora.
In humans, the four dominant phyla are Firmicutes , Bacteroidetes , Actinobacteria , and Proteobacteria. Bacteria in the large intestine perform many important functions for humans, including breaking down and aiding in the absorption of fermentable fiber, stimulating cell growth, repressing the growth of harmful bacteria, training the immune system to respond only to pathogens, producing vitamin B 12 , and defending against some infectious diseases.
There is not yet a scientific consensus as to health benefits accruing from probiotics or prebiotics. Carnivore and herbivore diets are contrasting, with basic nitrogen and carbon proportions vary for their particular foods. Many herbivores rely on bacterial fermentation to create digestible nutrients from indigestible plant cellulose, while obligate carnivores must eat animal meats to obtain certain vitamins or nutrients their bodies cannot otherwise synthesize.
Plant nutrition is the study of the chemical elements that are necessary for plant growth. Some elements are directly involved in plant metabolism. However, this principle does not account for the so-called beneficial elements, whose presence, while not required, has clear positive effects on plant growth.
A nutrient that is able to limit plant growth according to Liebig's law of the minimum is considered an essential plant nutrient if the plant cannot complete its full life cycle without it. There are 16 essential plant soil nutrients, besides the three major elemental nutrients carbon and oxygen that are obtained by photosynthetic plants from carbon dioxide in air, and hydrogen , which is obtained from water. Plants uptake essential elements from the soil through their roots and from the air consisting of mainly nitrogen and oxygen through their leaves.
Green plants obtain their carbohydrate supply from the carbon dioxide in the air by the process of photosynthesis. Carbon and oxygen are absorbed from the air, while other nutrients are absorbed from the soil. These hydrogen ions displace cations attached to negatively charged soil particles so that the cations are available for uptake by the root. In the leaves, stomata open to take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen.
The carbon dioxide molecules are used as the carbon source in photosynthesis. Although nitrogen is plentiful in the Earth's atmosphere, very few plants can use this directly. Most plants, therefore, require nitrogen compounds to be present in the soil in which they grow. This is made possible by the fact that largely inert atmospheric nitrogen is changed in a nitrogen fixation process to biologically usable forms in the soil by bacteria.
Plant nutrition is a difficult subject to understand completely, partially because of the variation between different plants and even between different species or individuals of a given clone. Elements present at low levels may cause deficiency symptoms, and toxicity is possible at levels that are too high.
Furthermore, deficiency of one element may present as symptoms of toxicity from another element, and vice versa. Canada's Food Guide is an example of a government-run nutrition program. Produced by Health Canada , the guide advises food quantities, provides education on balanced nutrition, and promotes physical activity in accordance with government-mandated nutrient needs.
Like other nutrition programs around the world, Canada's Food Guide divides nutrition into four main food groups: Dietary and physical activity guidelines from the USDA are presented in the concept of MyPlate , which superseded the food pyramid , which replaced the Four Food Groups.
Department of Health and Human Services provides a sample week-long menu that fulfills the nutritional recommendations of the government. Governmental organisations have been working on nutrition literacy interventions in non-primary health care settings to address the nutrition information problem in the U. The FNP has developed a series of tools to help families participating in the Food Stamp Program stretch their food dollar and form healthful eating habits including nutrition education.
It is designed to assist limited-resource audiences in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and changed behavior necessary for nutritionally sound diets, and to contribute to their personal development and the improvement of the total family diet and nutritional well-being. Launched in , this program promotes lifelong healthful eating patterns and physically active lifestyles for children and their families.
It is an interactive educational program designed to help prevent childhood obesity through classroom activities that teach children healthful eating habits and physical exercise. Nutrition is taught in schools in many countries. In England and Wales , the Personal and Social Education and Food Technology curricula include nutrition, stressing the importance of a balanced diet and teaching how to read nutrition labels on packaging.
In many schools, a Nutrition class will fall within the Family and Consumer Science or Health departments. In some American schools, students are required to take a certain number of FCS or Health related classes. Nutrition is offered at many schools, and, if it is not a class of its own, nutrition is included in other FCS or Health classes such as: In many Nutrition classes, students learn about the food groups, the food pyramid, Daily Recommended Allowances, calories, vitamins, minerals, malnutrition, physical activity, healthful food choices, portion sizes, and how to live a healthy life.
In the US, Registered dietitian nutritionists RDs or RDNs  are health professionals qualified to provide safe, evidence-based dietary advice which includes a review of what is eaten, a thorough review of nutritional health, and a personalized nutritional treatment plan.
They also provide preventive and therapeutic programs at work places, schools and similar institutions. Certified Clinical Nutritionists or CCNs, are trained health professionals who also offer dietary advice on the role of nutrition in chronic disease, including possible prevention or remediation by addressing nutritional deficiencies before resorting to drugs. These Board Certified Nutritionists typically specialize in obesity and chronic disease. In order to become board certified, potential CNS candidate must pass an examination, much like Registered Dieticians.
This exam covers specific domains within the health sphere including; Clinical Intervention and Human Health. The study found that health literacy increases with education and people living below the level of poverty have lower health literacy than those above it.
Another study examining the health and nutrition literacy status of residents of the lower Mississippi Delta found that 52 percent of participants had a high likelihood of limited literacy skills. For example, only 12 percent of study participants identified the My Pyramid graphic two years after it had been launched by the USDA.
The study also found significant relationships between nutrition literacy and income level and nutrition literacy and educational attainment  further delineating priorities for the region. Among these problems are the lack of information about food choices, a lack of understanding of nutritional information and its application to individual circumstances, limited or difficult access to healthful foods, and a range of cultural influences and socioeconomic constraints such as low levels of education and high levels of poverty that decrease opportunities for healthful eating and living.
The links between low health literacy and poor health outcomes has been widely documented  and there is evidence that some interventions to improve health literacy have produced successful results in the primary care setting. More must be done to further our understanding of nutrition literacy specific interventions in non-primary care settings  in order to achieve better health outcomes.
Malnutrition refers to insufficient, excessive, or imbalanced consumption of nutrients by an organism. In developed countries, the diseases of malnutrition are most often associated with nutritional imbalances or excessive consumption.
In developing countries, malnutrition is more likely to be caused by poor access to a range of nutritious foods or inadequate knowledge. The aim was to boost nutrition and livelihoods by producing a product that women could make and sell, and which would be accepted by the local community because of its local heritage. Although under- and over-nutrition are often viewed as human problems, pet animals can be under- or overfed by their owners, domesticated animals can be undernourished for macro- and micro-nutrients, affecting growth and health, and wild animals can be undernourished to the point of starvation and death.
Nutritionism is the view that excessive reliance on food science and the study of nutrition can lead to poor nutrition and to ill health. It was originally credited to Gyorgy Scrinis ,  and was popularized by Michael Pollan. Since nutrients are invisible, policy makers rely on nutrition experts to advise on food choices. Because science has an incomplete understanding of how food affects the human body, Pollan argues, nutritionism can be blamed for many of the health problems relating to diet in the Western World today.
ULs are set a safe fraction below amounts shown to cause health problems. ULs are part of Dietary Reference Intakes. When too much of one or more nutrients is present in the diet to the exclusion of the proper amount of other nutrients, the diet is said to be unbalanced. High calorie food ingredients such as vegetable oils, sugar and alcohol are referred to as "empty calories" because they displace from the diet foods that also contain protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Research indicates that improving the awareness of nutritious meal choices and establishing long-term habits of healthy eating have a positive effect on cognitive and spatial memory capacity, with potential to increase a student's ability to process and retain academic information. Some organizations have begun working with teachers, policymakers, and managed foodservice contractors to mandate improved nutritional content and increased nutritional resources in school cafeterias from primary to university level institutions.
Health and nutrition have been proven to have close links with overall educational success. There is limited research available that directly links a student's Grade Point Average G. Additional substantive data is needed to prove that overall intellectual health is closely linked to a person's diet, rather than just another correlation fallacy. Nutritional supplement treatment may be appropriate for major depression , bipolar disorder , schizophrenia , and obsessive compulsive disorder , the four most common mental disorders in developed countries.
Cancer is now common in developing countries. According to a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer , "In the developing world, cancers of the liver, stomach and esophagus were more common, often linked to consumption of carcinogenic preserved foods, such as smoked or salted food, and parasitic infections that attack organs.
Several lines of evidence indicate lifestyle-induced hyperinsulinemia and reduced insulin function i. For example, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance are strongly linked to chronic inflammation, which in turn is strongly linked to a variety of adverse developments such as arterial microtrauma and clot formation i. Hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance the so-called metabolic syndrome are characterized by a combination of abdominal obesity , elevated blood sugar , elevated blood pressure , elevated blood triglycerides , and reduced HDL cholesterol.