Adequate and proper nutrition is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for all individuals. The scope of public health practice is continuously expanding to promote sustainable health and nutrition.
Across the globe, eating practices and the nutritive value of consumed foods are becoming increasingly important areas of research for nutritional counseling professionals. As our body is made of what we eat it is essential to promote an awareness of the nutrients contained in foods in relation to their roles in the body. Appropriate nutrition is important for a variety of reasons, including optimal cardiovascular function, muscle strength, respiratory ventilation, protection from infection, wound healing, and psychological well-being. Through a diet containing the right amount of food constituents, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water, required for bodybuilding and defense it helps to prevent nutrition-related diseases. MARCH is the National Nutrition Month, where nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the malnutrition, the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
It is imperative to follow a healthful eating plan packed with tasty foods as there is no one diet that is right for everyone. Nutritional counseling is increasing attention nowadays and its goal is to motivate individuals to eat healthy and sustainable diets. It involves people gaining knowledge about nutrition and being encouraged to bring about the required changes in their food habits. The main focus is on practical aspects of nutritional knowledge. A nutrition plan is developed for obtaining the appropriate and necessary nutrition to remain healthy, be physically prepared, and lead a healthy life.
Occupation influences nutritional awareness and daily diet. Consumption of sufficient nutrients could lead to fatigue and/or inability to be actively involved in the activities. Awareness of nutrition programs and use of nutrition labels is a strategy to reduce overweight and obesity in adolescents. There is also a need for effective nutritional education for young consumers food preferences and their nutritional awareness behavior, within three environments home, school and social.
The different forms of malnutrition—undernutrition, overweight and obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies are now affecting people of all ages.
Nutritional status and resultant human health are influenced by social and environmental challenges in many countries (1). The health, environmental and social contexts that influence health-related attitudes and behaviors in the population are encouraged to be taken into account. The current lifestyles with longer working hours and long time wasted in travel and commutes have significantly affected the human diet, nevertheless, human health. Fresh vegetables and fruit have gradually been changing to accommodate fast foods and highly processed goods. These diet changes along with an alteration in lifestyle have had many serious consequences on the population. Many factors including physical inactivity, unhealthy food choices and pollution are now known to be the direct culprits of various chronic degenerative diseases worldwide.
Neurological conditions such as stroke usually cause altered levels of consciousness affecting swallowing mechanisms which make artificial nutritional support necessary (2). Hence, international guidelines recommend nutritional screening to detect malnutrition in patients with neurological diseases. Dysphagia, a treatable pathology, has been reported to be a common problem after a stroke. Swallowing rehabilitation allows for improving patients’ nutritional status. The awareness regarding this problem is required among healthcare professionals for its diagnosis which should be done within the first 24 hours of the stroke onset. The swallowing assessment, as well as malnutrition screening, should never be delayed by more than 72 hours. The enhancement of nutritional knowledge in this era remains the key solution available.
Recently, attention has been drawn to the relationship between nutritional habits and mental abilities. Also, studies on school children as well as adults have focused on the effect of consuming micronutrients on cognitive abilities. Current evidence indicates that obesity is a multifactorial condition and is much influenced by lifestyle than other factors. It is much easier to control undernutrition than control overweight and obesity.
Undernutrition and obesity need to be addressed together for several important reasons. Being healthy is extremely important to maintain a well-balanced self and educating kids about good nutrition from an early age helps them create and maintain a well-balanced, healthy life. Every year around 50 million children are at risk because of acute undernutrition, while the long term health of more than 40 million children is threatened because of overweight.
Nutritional status of women during pregnancy can be improved by nutrition education and counseling. It focusses typically on enhancing maternal diet quality by increasing the diversity and amount of foods consumed, adequate weight gain through consumption of sufficient and balanced protein and energy, and the consistent and continued use of micronutrient supplements, food supplements or fortified foods. The health and nutrition status of women and children are intimately linked. Therefore, nutrition education during pregnancy can reduce the risk of anemia, increase gestational weight gain and improve birth weight.
Knowledge alone is not enough to stimulate individuals to practice healthy habits. Other implementations are required to raise awareness such as the establishment of healthy food vendors in schools and encouraging physical activity may be a better solution. Awareness about nutrition can make a lot of difference in the health of the society and country as a whole.
Nutritional deficiencies can render the entire population of a country unproductive. In developing countries, unfavorable maternal, neonatal and child health outcomes are prevalent due to nutritional deficiencies. In recent years progress has been made in developing knowledge and understanding of the magnitude and scope of nutritional challenges. A greater understanding has developed regarding the importance of nutrition at different stages of the life course and the effect of poor nutrition across generations.