The Power of Nutrition – Changing the Undernutrition State of Health and Wealth in the World
The Power of Nutrition draws on insights garnered from around the globe in an effort to address some of the most prevalent and complex issues surrounding child nutrition and its negative effects on healthy development. Drawing on the contributions of leading organizations from national and international development, the collaboration strives to unify one billion dollar to address child under nutrition in some of the least well developed countries in the world. The book offers a panoramic look at the complex issue of child nutrition. It also offers a variety of practical recommendations for dealing with issues of child nutrition, especially in developing countries where it is often viewed as an after-thought. The book rightly focuses on early childhood feeding and development.
The book rightly argues that there are major benefits to a balanced diet consisting of a rich assortment of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and beans. In developing countries, whole grains and low-fat dairy products serve as staples for the diet while meat and fat from animal sources constitute a limited amount. The book rightly notes that a balanced diet is largely an individual affair depending on the family’s food habits. While adopting a Mediterranean diet may seem like a drastic solution to child nutrition, research indicates that adopting this eating pattern helps the child’s brain develop better than that of a child who has followed a Western diet. The brain grows according to the amount of nutrients available through the diet, not the amount of calories consumed.
The book rightly argues that the Mediterranean diet can help alleviate some of the chronic challenges associated with nutrition – obesity, diabetes, non-communicable diseases, chronic infectious diseases and other life threatening conditions. The diet encourages a healthy lifestyle through the reduction of stress, physical activity and a reduction in salt and sugar intake. It emphasizes the importance of a well-balanced, nutrient-dense, whole plant-based diet. Recent evidence suggests plant foods provide the most essential nutriments and micronutrients required by the human body.
The focus of the book is on three key areas
eating right; eating well; and exercise. The Power of Nutrition identifies five food groups that are rich in protein, yet do not contain any saturated fat, salt or sugar. The groupings include beans, nuts, leafy greens, fish, eggs and lentils. It advocates a variety of vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and fruits. It does not advocate the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The second chapter focuses on how nutrition interventions can be done at the community, national and international levels. The program focuses on five key strategies to achieve alone and goals. The strategies include community action, implementation, awareness and education, building capacity, and linking policies and services. These strategies can be implemented individually as stand alone programs or in collaboration with other concerned organizations.
The third chapter looks at Mediterranean diet interventions. The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet, which is balanced between carbohydrates, protein, essential fats, and essential minerals. The focus is on healthy eating, not restrictive eating, which is what most western diets are. The author recommends a moderate use of butter, cheese, whole grains, and legumes (such as lentils). This is based on the fact that whole grains can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, while lowering the consumption of dairy products. The Mediterranean diet is considered the most nutritious diet in the world.
The last chapter looks at the need for more nutrition education
The author recommends educating nutrition professionals, policy makers, health professionals, managers and employees in healthy and nutritional decision making. She also recommends investing the necessary financial resources to implement the policies. The author calls on all health professionals to support the campaign for improved nutrition to achieve the goals set forth in the report and to work collaboratively with colleagues in the non-profit and charitable sectors to implement the solutions recommended in the report.
The book concludes with a number of useful tips for parents, children, teachers, youth and professionals. The author encourages parents to be aware of the warning signs of under nutrition. She encourages children to become more physically active and to make a positive change in their lifestyle habits. She encourages school administrators to incorporate physical activity as a learning tool and to provide healthy options for lunch in the classroom. She encourages teachers to include a healthier lunch option for their students. Finally, she encourages nutrition professionals to become advocates for improved nutrition and better health for all.