The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) convened a Working Group representing a cross-section of members to determine the nutrition needs that will have the greatest impact on the health and well-being of the population. Here are the top 6 priorities, including subsets:
Archive for 'June 2013'
According to the pundits, many elected leaders are lacking vision. TalkingNutrition cannot verify these observations but we can talk about nutrition and age-related vision loss. Visual impairment is defined as a reduction in clarity with which a person sees objects. The estimated total annual cost of visual impairment (and blindness) among Americans ≥40 years of age is $5.5 billion. The personal consequences are even greater.Chou and colleagues analyzed nationally representative data (NHANES) collected from 5,222 Americans ≥40y. The overall age-standardized prevalence of visual impairment in US adults was 7.5%. The highest incidence was found in people ≥80y
Personal nutrition is getting closer to being a reality. And it isn’t likely to be a powder mix formulated to provide all the nutrients needed to meet the nutrient requirements of 97.5% of those of a certain age and gender, i.e. the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). Because that level of personalization is based on Estimated Average Requirements (EAR). Who among us is average? And if we are, then certainly our children are not!Soon, nutrition requirements will be personalized by using genetic information which makes each of us unique. A health professional will take a sample, probably blood or saliva, and analyze it for genetic polymorphisms or other metabolic markers. By knowing these unique markers, nutrient recommendations can be individualized. Some will need more, some may need less
Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. That was almost 2,500 years ago. It is still good advice. Despite revisions by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) regarding the value of omega-3 supplementation, nutrition is still the foundation for health.
Most children don’t spend enough time outdoors in the sunshine to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. Parents generally know that vitamin D and calcium are needed to grow strong bones and teeth. What they may not know is that vitamin D is also needed for strong muscles (see review by Hazell and colleagues). A new study reports serum 25(OH)D levels over a 6 month period in 121 children (2-6y) with asthma living inside Baltimore MD who were recruited to investigate the role of indoor pollutants and allergens on asthma. Blood samples were evenly split across the seasons – summer, fall, winter, spring. These children spent 3 out 4 hours outdoors daily. Still, Bose and colleagues report 55% were either vitamin D insufficient or deficient. In a predominantly black population of preschool children, 7.4% were at risk of rickets because of vitamin D deficiency.
In his article “Don’t Take Your Vitamins” in the NY Times on Saturday, Paul Offit selectively cites studies to warn people against taking vitamin supplements. He cites 1974 testimony as evidence that the dietary supplement industry does not want FDA regulation. This is 2013 not 1974. Remember, it wasn’t until 1972 that the FDA was given authority to regulate biological drugs. In 1974, the US was conducting nuclear tests in Nevada. The USSR existed (and was conducting nuclear tests too). Much has changed since the impeachment of President Nixon and resignation of W Brandt as Chancellor of Germany in 1974. Twenty years later, in 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) included dietary supplements under food regulations and gave the FDA new regulatory responsibilities.
The world of nutrition is buzzing. If you have doubts, search #lancetnutrition on twitter. Yesterday, The Lancet released a series of papers quantifying the prevalence of maternal and child undernutrition, the costs and health impact of nutrition interventions, proven approaches to improve nutrition, and features of enabling environments. Despite successful efforts to achieve the 2015 Millenium Development goals, the numbers are staggering. 165 million children have compromised cognitive development and physical capabilities because of malnutrition and stunting. A set of 10 nutrition interventions could save nearly a million children’s lives. It is an exciting time in nutrition. The World Bank announced
What Does the Average Person Really Think About Health and Nutrition? IFIC Food and Health Survey Provides Insights
An important consideration in designing nutrition interventions or nutrition-related products is what the target audience knows and feels about their health, diet and lifestyle. Every year for the past 8 years, the International Food Information Council has conducted a Food and Health Survey to help answer these questions.
Two newly published papers emphasize the importance of nutrition. Yes, you think. We know that nutrition is critical for health. Why waste my time reading this summary? It is because they demonstrate that malnutrition is prevalent in the overweight/obese and that the capacity of a pregnant mother to share nutrients across the placenta with her baby is diet-dependent. Study 1. Overweight and obesity is the accumulation of an unhealthy amount of body fat. It is caused when more calories are regularly consumed than metabolized. Obesity-related conditions include
Some nutrition research seems to create more questions than it answers. At TalkingNutrition, we often come across studies that have puzzling results that we struggle to interpret. Not today. In the journal Pediatrics, Malik, Taneja, Devasenapathy and Rajeshwari report on the results of an RCT using zinc supplements in infants aged 6 to 11 months on the incidence of diarrhea.
The human species is pretty incredible. We are resilient. We are adaptable. Initially, we are nourished exclusively by a transfer of nutrients across the umbilical cord, then we rely upon breast milk (or substitute) until transitioning to complementary and then solid foods. All the while, growth, development (and maintenance) depend upon an adequate intake of essential nutrients, like vitamin B1 - thiamin. Thiamin deficiency causes beriberi. It is rare in countries where most foods are enriched or fortified. However, thiamin deficiency does occur in breast-fed infants when the mother has an inadequate intake of thiamin. Thiamin plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism. Carbohydrate is an important component of breast milk.