The Importance of Nutrition in Our Lives

The issue of acquiring adequate nutrition is one of the most important issues faced by humans every day. Sufficient nutrition, along with exercise, is the key to maintaining true health. Without the nutrients that the body requires for every day living, it will begin to break down.

This is a problem for adults and children all over the world, in all walks of life. The reasons for this lack of healthy nutritional intake range from a financial inability to, a lack of available foods (or variety therein), or a need for nutritional education. Each of these reasons is valid and their consequences can be seen everywhere we look.

The Food Guide Pyramid lays out a general guideline for daily food choices. It is recommended that people eat a variety of foods in order to best achieve the required level of nutrients. In the pyramid, the whole grains group is given the bottom spot with the highest number of daily servings.

Above the whole grains groups is the fruits and vegetables group. Next come the meat, beans, eggs, and nuts group. On the top are the fats, oils, and sweets.

Children who do not get the nutrients they need, become sick with one or more of the many diseases associated with malnutrition.

Kwashiorker, marasmus, and other wasting diseases are more common than we prefer to think. Yet the symptoms of malnutrition can often be harder to pinpoint than a disease. The effects of undernourishment or malnutrition can be seen in the inability of children to focus at school, increased irritability, or even just a generalized weakness.

As nurses it is important to assess for proper nutrition in patients, be it under or over the required amounts. Once malnutrition has been identified, it is important to take the necessary corrective measures in nutrient intake. It is equally important to educate the patient and the necessary family members about nutrition and patient health.

In the field of forensic nursing, it is essential to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of undernourishment. Things like low body weight or fat content can be equally as important to note as the specific symptoms of a disease such as Kwashiorker or marasmus. Understanding nutrition and its effects on the body while it is living can greatly assist someone as a forensic nurse who deals with the patient posthumously.

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