Unit 21 Nutrition for health and social care

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Unit 21: nutrition for health and social care

Student name: Fatimah Al_asadi

Teacher name: Mr Selent

What is this unit about?

Learners will be introduced to the concept of nutritional health through exploring a number of definitions and different ways of describing and food intake and the problems caused by inappropriate consumption. Learners will then investigate the importance of nutrition to individuals at the different life stages as well as to socio-economic factors that influence food intakes. Finally, learners will carry out a quantitative study of the food intake of a chosen individual, and prepare a plan to improve the nutritional intake of the individual.


You are a dietician. You have decided to put together an educational package for your clients that will help to improve their general knowledge and understanding of the impact of diet on health. In addition you will carry out a quantitative nutrition analysis of the diet of one client and prepare an improved nutritional plan for them. This will then be used as a guide by all your clients on things they could do to improve their nutritional intake.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Understand concepts of nutritional health.
  2. Know the characteristics of nutrients.
  3. Understand influences on food intake and nutritional health.
  4. Be able to use dietary information from an individual to make recommendations to improve nutritional health.  

P1: explain concepts of nutritional health

Section 1: The Concept of nutritional health:

Food: food is an any source of substance eaten to nourish the body. Food can be solid or liquid, and can be taken by mouth, by tube or even directly in a vein, if a person is unable to eat or drink normally.

Diet: a diet refers to the types of food eaten regularly by an individual. The word diet does not necessarily refer to a weight loss diet. A person’s diet means all the meals and snacks they eat.

Meals and snacks:

The traditional pattern of eating three meals a day still exists in some households, but a significant number of people gain a lot of their food intake from snacks, some people have snacks between meals if they feel hungry, and sometimes  just because the food is there. Snacks are not necessarily unhealthy.


Nutrients are the specific chemical constituents of food that provide energy or support growth, repair or normal functioning of the body. Protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are all nutrients.

  • Nutritional health:


Malnutrition is any condition in which the body does not receive enough nutrients to function properly. Malnutrition or overnutrition.

Under nutrition:

Under nutrition is a deficiency of calories or nutrients and results from eating insufficient food or an inability to digest nutrients from the diet because of a medical condition such as ulcerative colitis (in which food passes through the digestive tract very quickly, preventing nutrients being absorbed into the bloodstream).

Eat well plate:

It's a good idea to try to get this balance right every day, but you don't need to do it at every meal. And you might find it easier to get the balance right over a longer period, say a week.

Eating healthily is about eating the right amount of food for your energy needs. In England, most adults are either overweight or obese. This means many of us are eating more than we need, and should eat and drink fewer calories in order to lose weight.

Food pyramid:

It is a great way to help you make healthy food choices. The food pyramid helps to choose from a range of foods so you get the essential nutrients your body needs as well as the suggested portions can help you to control the amount of calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar or sodium in your diet.

Key concepts of the food pyramid

  • Use the food pyramid for the food choices
  • Chose lean meats and low fat dairy products
  • Saturated fats should not exceed 10% of your calories
  • Base fat intake on the calorie needs

How the food pyramid can guide you

What is your caloric limit?
One needs to have enough calories daily for the body to have all the nutrients it needs. The amount of calories you need depend on several factors that include:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Your level of activity
  • Whether or not you are pregnant
  • If you have any chronic illnesses

The following recommendations by the national academy of science are for the following categories:

  1. 1600 calories for women leading a sedentary lifestyle and more some elderly individuals
  2. 2200 calories for a man leading a sedentary lifestyle, adolescent girls, children and women who are active
  3. Pregnant women need between 300-500 calories extra each day
  4. 2800 calories – this is for adolescent boys, active men and very active women

This pyramid shows different food groups and the servings you should have of each. For example, you should have 6 to 11 servings a day of foods in the Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group. Examples of servings in this group are one slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice or pasta, or one cup of ready-to-eat cereal. Examples for the Fruit Group include a medium-sized apple, orange or banana, 3/4 cup of fruit juice or 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit. In the Vegetable Group examples of a serving is a cup of raw, leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or raw, or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice. For the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group, they suggest a serving of two to three ounces of meat, fish or poultry. In addition, the following would count as one ounce of the same category: one egg, 1/2 cup of cooked beans, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, or 1/3 cup of nuts.

The bottom of the pyramid, the biggest part, is the Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group. This pyramid shows that where you should get the most servings per day. The top part, the Fats, Oils & Sweets Group is the smallest. That shows that you shouldn't have too much fat or oil in your diet.

While a lot of the food pyramid was a good idea, and the visual picture helped people remember not to have too much fat and oil, a lot of nutritionists didn't think the pyramid did a good job of showing some other nutritional facts. They thought there were some problems with the pyramid.

One problem was that there was no difference made between whole grains and refined grains or between saturated and unsaturated fats. While it might be good to have some olive oil, for example, eating food made with shortening isn't a good idea. In addition, while four slices of whole grain bread could be pretty healthy; four slices of white bread made from refined wheat aren't as nutritious. A serving of non-fat milk is just as nutritious as and better for you than a serving of whole milk. Another problem with the pyramid was that in some cases the servings mentioned were supposed to be a maximum (like for the meat group) but in other cases they were supposed to be a minimum (like for the fruit group). Finally, the food pyramid didn't show the importance of exercise or the need to watch the size of your portions. There was also some discussion about the fact that it was the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and not the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that made the pyramid. Some people said the number of servings of fruits and vegetables, for example, was higher than the number used by the World Health Organization, and maybe it was because the USDA wanted people to eat more of those products for business reasons instead of health reasons.

Body mass index:

The Body Mass Index (or BMI) is a way of seeing if your weight is appropriate for your height. The actual calculation is your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in metres) squared but it's also easy to read on the chart. BMI can be divided into several categories and generally the higher your BMI, the greater your risk of a large range of medical problems.

BMI charts are calculated for adults only (separate charts are available for children’s weight and heights). Inaccuracies can also occur if you're an athlete or very muscular as this can give you a higher BMI even if you have a healthy level of body fat and this BMI chart is not appropriate for women who are  or , or people who are very frail.

As BMI is based on weight and height, by losing weight you will reduce your BMI and put yourself into a lower risk group. A , including a balance of food groups, vitamins and minerals, is essential for a long and active life. Keeping it simple, body weight and shape are a balance of energy intake (dietary calorific content) against output (calorific burn from activity & exercise).

Many studies have shown that, too slowly and steadily lose weight, any diet which includes a healthy balance will work if you're motivated. Ideally a low fat, high fibre diet is best but low calorie diets, low-carb diets, meal replacement diets or simply reducing portion size will work as long as, at the end of the day, you're not taking in too much energy for your body’s particular needs. Generally, to lose 1lb /week you need to take in 500 calories less every day

Five a day:

The five day programme promotes the message that people should eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried vegetables fruit and pulses all count.

Dietary Reference Values (DRVs)

  • The human body needs a variety of nutrients and the amount of each nutrient needed is called the nutrient requirement.
  • In the UK, estimated requirements for various groups within the UK population were examined and published by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) in the 1991 report Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and
    Nutrients for the United Kingdom. COMA has now been replaced by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) who is likely to review the UK nutritional requirements in the near future.
  • DRVs are a series of estimates of the amount of energy and nutrients needed by different groups of healthy people in the UK population; they are not recommendations or goals for individuals.
  • DRVs have been set for following groups:
  • In order to take account of the distribution of nutritional requirements within the population, COMA used four Dietary Reference Values (DRVs):
  • Estimated Average Requirements (EARs)
  • Reference Nutrient Intakes (RNIs)
  • Lower Reference Nutrient Intakes (LRNIs)
  • Safe Intake

Source: Food

RNI is an estimate of the average requirement of energy or a nutrient needed by a group of people i.e. approximately 50% of people will require less, and 50% will require more.

  • RNI is the amount of a nutrient that is enough to ensure that the needs of nearly all a group (97.5%) are being met i.e. the majority will need less.
  • LRNI is the amount of a nutrient that is enough for only a small number of people in a group who have low requirements (2.5%) i.e. the majority need more.
  • Safe intake is used where there is insufficient evidence to set an EAR, RNI or LRNI. The safe intake is the amount judged to be enough for almost everyone, but below a level that could have undesirable effects.
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  • The amount of each nutrient needed differs between individuals and at different life stages. Individual requirements of each nutrient are related to a person’s age, gender, level of physical activity and health status.

Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)

An estimate used as part of the Dietary Reference Value (DRV) in the UK as a standard of the amounts of each nutrient needed by different groups of people in the population to maintain good health. The Reference Nutrient Intake is defined as:

An estimate of the levels of protein, vitamins and minerals that should meet the needs of most of the group ...

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