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Chapter: Nutrition and Diet Therapy: The Relationship of Nutrition and Health

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Individuals at Risk from Poor Nutritional Intake

Teenagers may eat often but at unusual hours.

INDIVIDUALS AT RISK FROM POORNUTRITIONAL INTAKE

 

Teenagers may eat often but at unusual hours. They may miss regularly sched-uled meals, become hungry, and satisfy their hunger with foods that have low nutrient density such as potato chips, cakes, soda, and candy. Foods with low nutrient density provide an abundance of calories, but the nutrients areprimarily carbohydrates and fats and, except for sodium, very limited amounts of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Teenagers are subject to peer pressure; that is, they are easily influenced by the opinions of their friends. If friends favor foods with low nutrient density, it is difficult for a teenager to differ with them. Crash diets, which unfortunately are common among teens, sometimes result in a form of malnutrition. This condition occurs because some nutrients are eliminated from the diet when the types of foods eaten are severely restricted.

 

Pregnancy increases a woman’s hunger and the need for certain nutrients, especially proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Pregnancy during adolescence requires extreme care in food selection. The young mother-to-be requires a diet that provides sufficient nutrients for the developing fetus as well as for her own still-growing body.


Many factors influence nutrition in the elderly. Depression, loneliness, lack of income, inability to shop, inability to prepare meals, and the state of overall health can all lead to malnutrition.


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