Health revision notes. Nutrition, Health and Development

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Health and Human Development

Unit 3

Nutrition Health and Development

Area of Study 1: Understanding Australia’s Health

  • Measurement of Health Status:

What is health? Health is a state of physical, emotional and social well being, as well as the absence of disease. It includes the ability to function effectively in ones environment given ones circumstances.

  • Physical Health: Refers to the state of the physical body, which includes level of fitness, the degree of energy, resistance to disease, efficient functioning of the body organs and maintenance of appropriate body weight to height. People who are physically healthy have the energy to perform a range of activities, they are alert, and their body systems respond and adapt accordingly.
  • Social Health: This component of health refers to the interaction between people. As humans are social beings and live in a community, they need to develop good quality relationships with family, friends and other peers. People who live interdependent, and cooperatively in a community are said to be socially healthy.
  • Emotional Health: This is to do with a person’s state of mind, and their feelings. It includes how a person feels about themselves and the ability to cope and function in every day life, and to adapt to a range of demands and make appropriate decisions. Self esteem and self image are linked to emotional health.

Measuring Health Status: Health status can be measured at either and individual level as well as a population level.

An individual’s health can be measured by:

  • Blood test
  • Fitness testing
  • BMI
  • Self assessment
  • Psychological testing

A population’s health can be measured by:

  • DALY’s (disability adjusted life years. Calculated by YLL+YLD=1DALY)
  • Years of life lost (YLL) This is a measurement of how many years of life expectancy are lost due to premature death,
  • Years of life lost due to disability/disease (YLD). This is a measure of how many years of life are lost due to disease, disability or injury.
  • Mortality (Death Rates)
  • Morbidity (disease, disability, injury)
  • Life Expectancy. This is the number of years a person can expect to live, from birth if the current death rates continue.
  • Health Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) This is the number of years a person can expect to live without reduced functioning due to poor health,
  • Burden of Disease (BOD)
  • Cost or Consequences to the community (direct or indirect)

Why do we measure health status? There are many reasons health status is measured, both at an individual level and a national level. National reasons for measuring health status include; for a comparison to other countries, know which areas we need to improve in, statistics, know where funding should be directed, and research and improving technologies.

  • Variations in Health Status:

Determinants of Health: Determinants of health are factors which influence health status. They are known as risk factors. They are divided into 5 groups. These groups are:

  • Biomedical
  • Genetic
  • Environmental
  • Knowledge/Attitudes/Belief
  • Lifestyle and Behavioural

Biomedical determinants of health include things such as:

  • BMI (obesity)
  • Blood cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • Bone density
  • Glucose levels
  • Blood alcohol levels

Genetic determinants of health include:

  • Gender (male/female)
  • Hereditary factors (body type, colour blind, blood pressure)
  • Genetic Diseases (chromosomal abnormalities, down syndrome, cystic fibrosis)

Environmental determinants of health include:

  • Physical environment (air pollution, housing, road exposure)
  • Social environment (family, friends, school, colleagues)
  • Political environment (laws & legislation, budgets, research)\
  • Economic environment (money, socio-economic status, education, occupation)

Knowledge, Attitudes & Belief helps determine health status by such factors as:

  • Religion
  • Culture
  • Spiritual beliefs
  • Family influences
  • Education/understanding

Lifestyle & Behavioural determinants of health include:

  • Physical activity
  • Drinking/smoking
  • Drugs
  • Unsafe sex
  • Diet/nutrition
  • Risk taking

  • Nutrients Required for Optimal Health:

Nutrition status falls under the lifestyle and behavioural component of the DOH. Nutrition influences many diseases by both over and under consumption. Some of these diseases include:

  • Osteoporosis – lack of calcium
  • Anemia – lack of iron
  • Obesity – high saturated/trans fat
  • Type 2 diabetes – sat/trans fat
  • Colorectal cancer- lack of fibre
  • Cardio-vascular disease – sat/trans fat
  • 60% of BOD is related to diet-related issues.

RDI’s: These are Recommended Dietary Intake. It indicates the amount of nutrients that need to be consumed each day to maintain good health. They have special categories for age and special requirements such as pregnancy. They don’t however take into account elite athletes, or people with special dietary needs such as diabetics and people with anemia.

BMI: This is Body Mass Index. Measures the amount of body fat a person has taking into account their height & weight. It is calculated by weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. It doesn’t however take into account a persons bone density, muscle mass, gender or athletic capabilities.

  • Below 18 = very underweight
  • Below 20 = underweight
  • 20-25 = acceptable healthy weight
  • 25-30 = overweight
  • Over 30 = obese

Nutrients: all foods contain nutrients. Nutrients are the substances that the body requires in order to function correctly. These need to be obtained from food, because the body is not able to produce nutrients it needs in sufficient amounts. The 3 main functions that nutrients have are:

  • Energy
  • Regulation of body processes
  • Building and maintaining body tissue

The 6 classes of nutrients are:

  • Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Fibre can also be put in this section. It is a type of carbohydrate, but it has a different function to all other types of carbohydrates.

Nutrients can be divided into 2 groups. These are:

  • Macronutrients: required in large amounts in the body, Consists of carbohydrates, protein, lipids, water and fibre.
  • Micronutrients: required by the body in smaller amounts, and consists of vitamins and minerals.


Structure: Carbohydrates are chemical compounds which contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (C6H12O6)

They are further classified as being either:

  • Monosaccharide’s: these are simple sugars e.g. glucose, fructose and galactose
  • Disaccharides: these are paired simple sugars e.g. glucose + fructose =sucrose.
  • Polysaccharides: consists of more than 2 simple sugars e.g. Starch, protein, cellulose. These are also known as complex carbohydrates.

Simple sugars are quickly digested and absorbed into the body. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as cereals, grains and pasta. These are more slowly digested and absorbed. Before they can be used they need to be broken down into simple sugars.

Function: Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source. Each gram of carbohydrate yields 16kj of energy. Carbohydrates are also a major source of dietary fibre, which assists in body functions especially removal of waste.

Food Sources: food sources for carbohydrates include: cereal, flour, bread, pasta, vegetables especially root veggies and tubers, fruits; bananas, figs and dates. Also concentrated sweets such as sugar honey and jam.


Structure: proteins are made up of amino acids, of which there are twenty. The body is able to synthesize 12 of these, however there are 8 which they cannot, called essential amino acids, which the body cannot manufacture, so they must obtain these from food.

Function: Protein makes up every cell in the body. They are used for growth, repair and maintenance of body tissue. Protein forms part of the structure of cell membranes, and connective tissue. It is also needed for the manufacture of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. Protein is also a secondary source of energy; however it is only used in extreme circumstances.

Food Sources: food can have either complete proteins or incomplete proteins. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids, as well as some non-essential amino acids. The main food sources are animal foods, including red meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese and Soya beans. Incomplete proteins have some or all of the essential amino acids missing. Some plant foods that are good protein sources are; cereals, dried peas, beans and nuts. Some of these foods can be combined to compliment each other, as some of amino acids that the others are missing.

Fats or Lipids:

Structure: Lipids are composed of long molecular chains of fatty acids combining carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are 3 types of fats. These are:

  • Saturated: a high intake of saturated fats may increase blood cholesterol levels.
  • Mono-unsaturated: these help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Polyunsaturated: can lower blood cholesterol levels.

Function: all fats provide the body with a concentrated form of energy, and each gram of fat yields 37kj of energy. Fats provide the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats pad and protect certain areas of the body, and regulate some metabolic processes.

Food Sources: saturated fats can be obtained from meat, cream and butter. Mono-saturated fats come from olive, peanut and canola oils. Polyunsaturated fats come from most vegetable oils, fish oils and polyunsaturated margarines.

Water: water is essential for survival and is a component of all body cells. It is involved in most body processes – acts as a solvent for chemical reactions, transports nutrients through out the body, regulates body temperature and allows the kidneys to function.

Fibre: fibre is a complex mixture of compounds occurring in most foods. Good sources of dietary fibre include; whole grain breads, cereals, baked beans, raw carrots, dried apricots and prunes. It is recommended that adults consume 30 grams of fibre. It is recommended that adults consume 30 grams of fibre per day.

Vitamins: vitamins are complex chemical compounds required in small amounts in the body. There are 13 known vitamins, and each of these has a known function, but they often need each other to function properly. Vitamins can be classified according to their solubility in either fat or water. Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. They are stored in the liver and in fatty tissues. Water soluble vitamins are vitamin C and B group vitamins move freely around the body in the blood and lymph fluid. Excess amounts are excreted in the urine.

Minerals: Minerals are inorganic substances also required in small amounts to regulate body processes. Minerals are vital for normal growth and development, and for the regulation of metabolic processes.

Digestion, Absorption & Metabolism:

  • Digestion: food needs to be broken down into a simpler form so that it can be absorbed and used by the body. Digestion can be done mechanically by chewing, or churning, as well as chemically by enzymes.
  • Absorption: this is the uptake of substances into our bloodstream. Done in the stomach, and the intestines. Only small amounts in the stomach, most absorption takes place in the small intestine, and mostly water is absorbed from the large intestine.
  • Metabolism: refers to all chemical reactions that take place in the body involving nutrients. Catabolism is the breaking down of nutrients, and anabolism is breaking up. 

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  • Nutrition as a Risk and Protective Factor:

Dietary imbalances, the excess and deficiencies shown in poor diets are a contributing factor to many diseases, some of which are the major causes of morbidity and mortality in Australia. Over 60% of deaths in Australia are diet related, and mostly preventable if nutrition status could be improved.

  • A risk factor is said to be any factor which represents a greater risk or influences getting a disease or condition.
  • Protective factors are factors which assist in guarding against a disease. ...

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