RELATION BETWEEN GOOD NUTRITION AND HEALTH
Health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the ' State of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'.
To maintain good health and nutritional status one must eat a balanced food, which contains, all the nutrients in the correct proportion.
The essential requisites of health would include the following:
1. Achievement of optimal growth and development, reflecting the full expression of one' s genetic potential.
2. Maintenance of the structural integrity and functional efficiency of body tissues necessary for an active and productive use.
3. Mental well-being
4. Ability to withstand the inevitable process of aging with minimal disability and functional impairment.
5. Ability to combat diseases such as
a. resisting infections (immunocompetence)
b. preventing the onset of degenerative diseases
c. resisting the effect of environmental toxins/ pollutants
Till three decades ago the role of nutrition in growth and development and tissue integrity alone was clear, but now the persuasive role nutrition plays in the other dimensions of health is implicit. Hence an optimal nutritional status is an indication of good health. This recent advance has brought about a large-scale change in dietary habits and practices of the population.
CONCEPTS OF MALNUTRITION - UNDER NUTRITION AND OVER NUTRITION
Malnutrition as defined by World Health Organisation (WHO) is a pathological state resulting from a relative or absolute deficiency or excess of one or more essential nutrients, this state being clinically manifested or detected only by biochemical, anthropometric or physiological tests.
Four forms can be distinguished:
1. Undernutrition - the pathological state resulting from the consumption of an inadequate quantity of food over an extended period of time.
2. Marasmus is synonymous with severe undernutrition. Starvation implies total elimination of food and hence the rapid development of under nutrition and marasmus.
3. Specific deficiency - the pathological state resulting from a relative or absolute lack of an individual nutrient.
a. Over nutrition - the pathological state resulting from a disproportion of essential nutrients with or without the absolute deficiency of any nutrient as determined by the requirement of a balanced diet.