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Malnutrition – Who Risk It?

2017/07/08

In this day and age, comparatively few people are short of food or lack essential nutrients. Yet, there are a few groups of people, who are potentially at threat of dietary deficiency as they have special nutritional requirements.

They include pregnant women, infants, growing children, adolescents and elderly people. They are also known as the vulnerable groups.



Pregnant and nursing women

It is often said that pregnant woman should eat for two, meaning that she should increase the intake of her daily diet; however, this is merely a saying and has no truth. During the course of pregnancy, the quality of food that the mother eats is more vital than the quantity.

Therefore, to take care of the needs of the fetus, it is essential for the mother to-be to follow a diet rich in minerals, iron, proteins and other nutrients. Following a healthy dietary regime ensures the birth of a healthy baby and at the same time keeps the mother fit.

Infants

Breast milk contains all the nutrients essential for babies, together with substances that protect the baby from infection. The risk to the baby comes when it is weaned. If the baby is weaned too late, or weaned on food deficient in protein, vitamins or minerals, its growth and health can suffer.



Children

Because children are growing, they require a greater proportion of protein in their food. Ensure that a child’s diet contains plenty of nourishing foods, rather than sweets and sweet drinks that satisfy energy demands without providing any nutrients. Therefore, foods like milk, cheese, yoghurt, green vegetables etc. should be incorporated in a child’s daily diet.

Adolescents

In their teens children undergo a spurt in growth, which slightly increases their need for nutrients. However, at this age they are most likely to feed on snacks. There is nothing wrong with hamburgers, fish fingers, sausages, and crisps provided the teenager eats a variety of foods. But snacking on just one type of food could lead to nutritional deficiency.

Elderly people

Apathy following bereavement or disability can cut down food intake by old people to a dangerously low level. Some disabled people lack vitamin D because they are house bound or rarely expose themselves to sunshine.

There are only a few foods that contain vitamin D in significant amounts – egg, butter, margarine, and fatty fish such as sardines, herrings, mackerel, pilchards and salmon, therefore, some of these elements ought to be incorporated in the daily diet of elderly people.






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