NUTRITION, HEALTH AND WELLBEING

What we eat and drink has impact on our physical growth, mental well being and performance at work place. It is important that we should eat healthy diet. A healthy diet is a balance diet which includes food from all major food groups in right proportion and in quantities sufficient to maintain a healthy body.

A balance diet is important because our organs and tissues need proper nutrition to work properly.

Benefits of Healthy Diet

  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Maintains healthy body weight
  • Improve mood and mental well being
  • Clear and healthy skin
  • Decrease risk of chronic disease

Following Food groups are essential part of balance diet

  • Proteins; meat, chicken, fish, beans, lentils
  • Carbohydrates; sugary and starch foods, potatoes
  • Fats; oil, butter
  • Vitamins and minerals; vegetables and fruits

Calories

The number of calories in a food is a measurement of amount of energy stored in that food. Our body uses calories form energy from food for walking, breathing and other functions.

Caloric Requirements

  • Children – 1000 to 1400 Cal per day
  • Adult man – 2400-2800 Cal per day
  • Adult woman – 1800 – 2000 Cal per day

 

Energy Intake should be balanced with energy expenditure.  In this context physical exercise plays a major role.

We should also drink plenty of water. Average daily requirement of water is 6-8 glasses per day. It prevents dehydration, headache, fatigue and dizziness.

A healthy diet helps to protect against mal-nutritionist as well as non- communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer.

Unhealthy food and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.

Diet deficient in various nutrients can cause various health problems, for example;

  • Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness.
  • Iron deficiency can lead to anemia.
  • Vitamin C deficiency can cause Scurvy.
  • Vitamin D and Calcium deficiency can cause bone diseases..
  • Protein deficiency can cause muscle wasting and Odema.

Nutrition and Children

            Nutritional intake for infants and children should be adequate for maintenance of weight for age and to support normal physical growth and mental development.

During early period growth is rapid, there is high metabolic rate and nutritional requirements are high.

It is followed by the childhood period of growth during which sixty percent of total growth occurs.

Nutrition and growth during first three years of life predict adult height. The major risk period for growth stunting is between four months to three years of age. Therefore, good food is important during this period.

For optimal growth and wellbeing of children micro nutrition are also important in addition to major food groups that are protein, carbohydrates and fats. The micro nutrients are vitamins, for example vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K and minerals for example iron, calcium, and sodium. They require small amount but they play very important role in growth activity and development. There are also important in adults but crucial in early childhood when rapid growth rate is taking place. Milk is good source of nutrients so children should take at least two glasses of milk daily.

In Pakistan under nutrition is major problem in children due to deficiency of various food groups.