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Healthy nutrition takes many forms and is understood differently in different countries and among different cultures. In general, healthy nutrition should be an integral part of daily life that contributes to the physiological, mental and social well-being of individuals It is the combined effect of food, health and care. Nutritional well-being is determined by consuming safe food as part of an appropriate and balanced diet that contains adequate amounts of nutrients in relation to bodily requirements. The health and lifestyle of an individual influences the extent to which food contributes to good social, mental and physical well-being. Care is shown by providing time, attention and support in the household and the community to meet the food and health needs of the child and other family members. Furthermore, social ties are validated and maintained by the exchange of food since offering food is associated with offering love, affection and friendship.
Today, the global nutrition situation is a picture of extremes. Of fasting and feasting, of wasting, stunting, and obesity. At one end, undernutrition, and more specifically, deficiencies in essential nutrients, are the underlying causes of an estimated 3.5 million deaths each year. At the other end, we have a global epidemic of obesity, increasingly starting in childhood. We have millions of people at increased risk of developing diet-related chronic diseases, like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A balanced diet with sufficient essential nutritional elements is critical for maintaining a healthy body. On the other hand, deficiencies in essential nutrients can lead to stunted growth, poor immune function and classical conditions such as scurvy, osteoporosis, depression and xeropththalmia.
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