what is the importance of nutrition

Adequate nutrition is the intake and utilization of enough energy and nutri-ents, together with disease control, to maintain well-being, health, and pro-ductivity. “Malnutrition” includes generalized malnutrition (which manifests itself as stunting, underweight, and wasting in individuals) and deficiencies of micronutrients, such as vitamin A, iron, iodine, zinc, and folic acid.


The most visible evidence of good nutrition is taller, stronger, healthier children who learn more in school and become productive, happy adults, who participate in society. Too little or too much consumption of energy and nutrients causes health damage. Individuals who are within acceptable norms for body size and biological indicators of micronutrient status are considered adequately nourished.

Malnutrition does not need to be severe to pose a threat to survival. Worldwide, fewer than 20 percent of deaths associated with childhood malnutrition involve severe malnutrition; more than 80 percent involve only mild or moderate malnutrition. Although the immediate cause of death in mild and moderately malnourished children may be pneumonia or diarrhea, many children would not die if they were well nourished.

Disease and inadequate dietary intake are the immediate causes of mal-nutrition in most individuals. Underlying these causes are barriers in the household and family:

How Maternal and Child Nutrition Are Linked

  • Birth weight is closely associated with child survival, well-being, and growth, which influences nutrition in adolescence and determines how well nourished the mother is when she enters pregnancy.
  • Milk Feeding

                                            Milk Feeding

  • Prevention of stunting in girl children during the first two years can help break the cycle of malnutrition
  • Nutrient stores built up in adolescence help the nutrition of women during and between pregnancies.
  • Mother’s nutrition before and during pregnancy influences growth and development of the fetus and its birth weight; it affects her chances of surviving the delivery.
  • Adequate nutrition for the mother should be maintained during breastfeeding.
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