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Importance of Nutrition in Age Groups Nutrition is a part of science that studies, as well as analyzes and interprets, the relational effect of nutrient in food and other food substances to the growth, life and health maintenance, reproduction, and diseases of people and also of living organisms. Food digestion, absorption and assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion are processes that are taken up also in nutrition. The term diet is all about the regular staple of food that a person takes in relation to its availability, food preparation, and palatability. In order to gain a healthy diet, food must be cared for in such a way that it is stored well, prepared and cooked properly, so that the nutrients in it are preserved from oxidation, heat or leaching, and from the risk of food poisoning. Nutrients are composed of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and amino acids, and vitamins, as well as water, oxygen, and minerals. When we age, our dietary needs will change and this kind of process will continue all through life, and with that, the food nutrients that we take will also undergo adjustments as we grow older. The dietary changes are not only due to our changing age but can be due to economic, psychological, and social factors.
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Good and proper nutrition starts at the first six months of an infant, wherein nutritionists highly recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies with their breast milk since it is full of nutrients and antibodies which the babies need. After six months, solid food can already be given to the baby together with the mother’s breast milk.
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The dietary nutrition for the pre-school age group considers the following food combination – carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, protein and good quality fats, as well as vitamins A, C, calcium, iron and zinc. As the child reaches school age which is until the teen years, this necessitates the proper feeding of a healthy, balanced diet of nutrients to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What is recommended for this age group is a proportional balanced diet of complete nutrients, including calcium, iron and protein with vitamin supplements, and must be found in any of the three meals each day – breakfast, lunch, dinner. As we enter adulthood, the majority of our body’s growth and development will be over and the gradual slowing down requires a shift more on adult nutrition to maintain a physically active life. Food intake, at this age level, are smaller in proportions even if taken during mealtimes and snack foods must be limited to whole grain toast and fruits. Since the portions are small and preparations to it can be taxing, it is best to cook large meals then freeze the rest so that the nutrients are still preserved until the next meal. It is indeed constraining when we reach the elderly stage as continued changes in our bodies are happening, slowing down are appetite for food and limiting our mobility, and, with that, the buying and preparing of good food is also restricted. It is, therefore, recommended to buy food, that are already pre-cooked and are equally nutritious, and can be frozen at a long period of time, so that small portions of it can be taken as the need arises.