Many things are important to our health. However, some things are more important than others.
Nutrition is one of the most important elements of our lives. It has a profound impact on our health status, as well as many other factors.
Forming healthy habits, while improving our nutritional status is one of the most important things we can do for good health.
The Importance of Nutrition
Nutrition is a central and vital requirement for proper physical and mental development, the growth of children and the health of adults. It’s linked to whether children enroll in schools, perform effectively, or complete their primary education. Nutrition also has a profound effect on how productive we are and our potential to earn an income.
Even though nutrition is an essential requirement millions of women and children around the world are malnourished due to their poverty and living in low-income countries.
Alarmingly, more than 30% of all children in the world have stunted growth and are underweight. Even more alarming is the fact that globally, 50% of young children who die each and every year are from causes related to being underweight.
On a global scale, 5.5 million children die from malnutrition every year; this equals 15,000 children dying every day from diseases and illnesses related to nutrition.
Many of these deaths can be avoided with a number of low cost interventions that are proven to be effective.
The following short video by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) offers some insight pertaining to child malnutrition:
Communication and Education
Many lives can be saved by communicating to women the importance of breastfeeding, and educating people on the appropriate foods that are rich in certain micro-nutrients.
For instance, fortifying salt with iodine has been a practice used in high-income countries for over 50 years; however, un-iodized salts are still sold in many countries throughout the world.
In addition, iron and folic acid is vital and offers healthy outcomes for pregnant women—this nutritional value has been known for decades. Nonetheless, in low-income countries, many women do not get supplements of iron and folic acid or eat foods that contain these essential minerals.
Close to 800 million people around the world suffer from protein and energy deficiencies and malnutrition due to lack of income to purchase proper foods. Yet, other reasons for these adverse health outcomes is due to customs, cultures, and not utilizing proper eating behavior.
By practicing healthy habits, many people can improve their health, well-being, income, and live longer lives. Here are some examples:
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water
- Breastfeed for a minimum of 6 months
- Take food supplements that contain iron and vitamin A
- Use salt fortified with iron
- Get enough protein and energy
For more help in living longer and healthier click on the following link to visit the National Institutes of Health’s website.
Finally, the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) works for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection. They focus their attention on the importance of nutrition and many concerns relating to the health and well-being of people around the world. Visit their website for more information on ways you can help, or find out more about how they can help you: http://www.unicef.org/index.php
These practices and suggestions for good health and nutrition are most successful if they are pursued on a social level and tied to community involvement and intervention while providing awareness and attention to the importance of nutrition.