Nutrition Education: The importance of nutrition education as a means for improving the nutrition of the community in developing countries has rapidly during the recent past. A community is a specific group of people who share common characteristics, e.g. a common language, exposure to similar conditions, common lifestyle, or the same health problem. Lack of awareness about the dietary requirements and nutritive value of different food is the main cause of prevailing malnutrition among school children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, and other vulnerable sections of the community.
Nutrition education should be practical and should be easily adaptable to the socioeconomic status, food habits, and the available local food resources generally needed for the demonstration and feeding of the locally available audience. The nutrition education program should become a part of the community.
In almost all countries specialized training is available for the training of nutritionists and dietitian suitable for working in schools, colleges, hospitals, Maternity child health centers for imparting nutrition education in the community. Training in nutrition for workers in another profession with suitable instruction for a short period of 3-4 months, is sufficient. Workers in other professions and occupations such as public health workers, nurses, and community project workers can be given training in nutrition. The course should be practical and should stress the current prevalent nutritional problems in the community and their prevention by the use of locally available food.
Objectives of Nutrition Education Programmes
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The main objectives are as follows:
- To develop nutrition advisory services and nutrition education programmes for the public.
- To participate and coordinate in community nutrition programmes with the co-operation of people working in other disciplines like social workers, village health workers, and nurses, etc. and also with the help of social welfare agencies
- To help in developing supplementary nutrition programme where ever necessary.
- To improve the nutritional levels of the community by the available means.
Well-formulated and efficiently recognized nutrition education can encourage those contributing to change in dietary behaviors and provide them with the information, facts, and skillfulness to make healthy food choices from the perspective of their way of life and economic sources. Effective. nutrition education and promotion comprise of numerous constituents:
- Skill-building to make possible positive behavior change;
- Environmental and policy changes to make the healthy choice the easy choice:
- Incorporated schemes and social marketing to fabricate society and collective support.
It helps consumers choose and consume vigorous and pleasurable foods by improving understanding, proficiencies, and enthusiasm to take action at home, school, and work; it is continuing, multifaceted, and distributed through a variety of channels or outlets. It will vary based on the target population, and take into account awareness, knowledge, and social, health, and environmental aspects; flourishing involvements will utilize various approaches for diverse groups and conditions.
Need For Nutrition Education
As it has been stated above that diet and nutrition are considered to be vital aspects for the well-being of an individual, the feelings of anger, frustration, and depression can be minimized or curbed by consuming a healthy and nourishing diet; when an individual is in a depressed condition or undergoes disturbance or frustration or anger, then the food that he consumes is termed as ‘comfort food that gives him a soothing experience, therefore, the need for nutrition education even in educational institutions is a vital aspect, students should be provided with information and knowledge about nutrition education so that they acquire the knowledge about how to maintain their health and wellbeing
The problems of over-nutrition, under-nutrition, vitamin, protein, and mineral deficiencies, obesity, and diet-related chronic diseases progressively more are present side by side throughout the world. There are more than 900 million people who are undernourished and approximately 170 million children are underweight these children do not get enough energy or key nutrients and cannot maintain healthy and dynamic lives. The outcome is, they achieve underprivileged physical and mental development, devastating illness and the outcome is death, as well as immeasurable loss of human potential and social and economic development. At the same time. hundreds of millions suffer from chronic diseases caused by unnecessary or unhealthy diets and many developing nations are now dealing with rigorous health problems at both ends of the nutritional spectrum. Countries still struggling to feed their people, face the costs of preventing obesity and treating diet-related non-communicable illnesses. In India and other countries of the world, the problem of malnutrition is severe and people are undergoing rigorous health problems
The effectiveness of nutrition education is considered to be important in the viewpoints of all individuals, it has been reported that nutrition education does develop balancing feeding behaviors and child growth. It has been researched that distributed effects of fifteen involvements and noted that the winning involvements were ethnically responsive, available, and amalgamated with local resources. There is sufficient published evidence of the effectiveness of nutrition education on child growth and anemia, particularly through improving breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices such that the Lancet series on under-nutrition of mothers and children cited behavior change communication (BCC) on infant and young child feeding (LYCF) as one of the 15 facts based efficient involvements to diminish global under-nutrition. Nutrition education has also been found to be effective in bringing about the transformation of the dietary observations that influence chronic diseases as was accounted in a review of published interventions implemented in North America.
Development Of Nutrition Education
The experience of one’s life, educational program, and training of the individuals is considered to be vital for the development of nutrition education. When a young child in a kindergarten school. is taught about the benefits of drinking milk, then he develops this within his mindset that drinking milk is essential for one’s growth and development, the development of one’s physical body, mindset, and bones takes place through consumption of milk. The development of nutrition education within educational institutions became vital when scholarly research indicated that children should consume a healthy breakfast before coming to school. Research has indicated in an educational institution in New Delhi, India, there were a couple of students who used to come to school just after having a glass of milk and nothing to eat, and they fainted and required medical treatment: then their parents were called, as well as it was put in writing by the school authorities that they should consume a healthy breakfast before coming to school; therefore, it can be stated that if a child faints in school due to lack of proper and a well-balanced diet then it causes hindrances during his learning and education. The concept of nutrition education has become a vital area in playschools and it is normally put in writing by the school teachers that what they are required to consume before coming to school as well as after school.
There has been the development of curriculum and instructional materials that impart information about a healthy and well-balanced diet, these materials have been health and science textbooks. books about one dietary habit, differences between healthy and unhealthy food items and the effects of their consumption; mainly the textbooks regarding diet and nutrition provide the essential information about the required nutrients such as calcium, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, potassium, zinc, iron and sugar. The deficiencies of the required minerals within a human body can cause disadvantageous effects, for example, deficiency of iron in one’s body can cause anemia, sugar has to be consumed in extreme moderation, especially those individuals should avoid sugar who are diabetic, high blood sugar levels can cause harmful effects upon the human body. In most educational institutions, individuals are provided with mid-day meals, these meals should be healthy and provide the essential nutrients to the students. In nutrition education, one of the most vital areas that should be emphasized is that they should be prepared in a clean, hygienic, and uncontaminated environment, vegetables, and fruits should be washed before consumption and one should always wash his hands before preparation of meals or consumption of anything, if a food item is fallen upon the floor, it should not be consumed as it has acquired the dirt which has been upon the floor; these are vital aspects that need to be taken under consideration when acquiring knowledge about nutrition education.
Nutrition Education In Community Areas
Schools and educational institutions have been regarded to be primary aspects to impart nutrition education to individuals. This viewpoint is regarded as extremely crucial that nutrition education is essential for the physical and mental development of children. When the children will consume a healthy and well-balanced diet then they will be able to concentrate upon their studies and learn effectively. The significance of nutrition education in community areas have has been classified as follows:
1. Making provision of information, knowledge, and skills about the relationship between a good diet, physical activity, and health.
2. Preparation of food, involving one’s self in learning how to prepare food, for example, taking cooking classes and the consumption of food is regarded to be one of the most pleasurable and enjoyable moments of life.
3. One should learn to make the differences between healthy and unhealthy food choices; when a person is young, then he enjoys sweets and unhealthy foods, he does not bother about his weight, but when he grows up if he has time he gets engaged in physical exercises and eats mostly healthy food and recognizes the differences between healthy and unhealthy food items.
4. Education regarding nutrition should also involve the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the alcoholic as well as the non-alcoholic beverages; healthy and junk food items. consumption of fruits, green vegetables, and other well-nourished food items and unhealthy food items such as sweets, etc.
5. The communication of health messages to the public is important, whether it is through educational institutions, training centers, medical centers, healthcare facilities, media, communication channels, and so forth. When an individual attends a counseling center to obtain counseling on some aspect such as anger management, then also diet and nutrition are considered to be some of the most crucial areas that a counselor advises about.
6. Nutrition education is considered to be an important way of healthy eating, build good life long habits and struggle against the problems of obesity, under-nutrition, over-nutrition, and malnutrition; generation of knowledge and information in this area will help people in identifying the problems that are associated with diet and nutrition and the good effects of a healthy well-balanced diet.
7. In some cases, young children and other minority groups are not aware of different kinds of food items available, then it should be part of the curriculum in nutrition education that these people be introduced to new food items that they are not aware of and particularly those that are good for their health conditions.
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