Nutrition Security: A Human Right or Privilege?
Doing something meaningful is an aspirational thought. It leads to the question, “what is meaningful action?” Some movements, such as Occupy Wall Street, try to change the world through nonviolent demonstration. It can also be improving lives of women, men, and their children by advocating for better nutrition and long-term nutrition security.
Nutrition adequacy and security are worldwide problems. Even in developed nations. Even amongst the overweight and obese. Snacking is often considered to contribute to obesity more than nutrient intake.Zizza and Xu set out to test this concept. They examined 24h dietary recall data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) on 11,209 adults. Snacking was associated with a more nutrient-dense diet, partially through increased intake of fruit and whole grains and negatively associated with the consumption of fruit, meat and beans.
A second study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that men and women consuming recommended intakes of fruits and vegetables had higher intakes of carotenoids and flavonoids. Not a surprise. People eating more fruits and vegetables have higher intakes of vitamins and carotenoids found in these foods. The disturbing finding was that one food accounted for 64% of the total intake for 5 of 9 phytonutrients. Think about this, a single food. A third study substantiates this observation. Unfortunately. Wise and colleagues analyzed food frequency records obtained from almost 23,000 women participating in the Black Women’s Health Study. They reported that amost 60% ate 1 serving or less of fruit and vegetables daily.
One serving or less. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are communicated to consumers through MyPlate as ‘make half your plate fruits and vegetables’. This cannot be achieved with 1 serving of fruit and vegetables daily. The National Cancer Institute and Produce for Better Health Foundation created the “5 A Day for Better Health” program in 1991. And still people are not eating enough fruit and vegetables.
Until people change their dietary habits, the best way to improve intakes of essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients is food fortification and/or dietary supplementation. There is a fundamental lack of awareness of the impact of malnutrition on child development, human productivity, and quality of life. AsStephan Tanda wrote in Huffington Post, ‘nutrition, while perhaps lacking the media appeal or overt sense of urgency of more well-known issues, can make a monumental difference to people’s lives, and especially those of women and their children.”
Do something meaningful. Become a nutrition advocate and make a difference.