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Diet and Nutrition

Is one diet right for everyone?


By
Eric M. Wigley
English 220
University of New Mexico
Fall 2015

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No one diet is appropriate for everyone, the diet should be individualized to meet the caloric
needs of that particular person.

Introduction
Is there any diet that works for everyone? The answer is no. A persons diet depends of
multiple factors that need to be addressed when determining the appropriate diet. A few of these
factors include: Age, gender, genetics, lifestyle, occupation, and socioeconomic background,
cultural attitudes toward food, availability of food in the community and many more.
Dietary guidelines set forth by entities such as the CDC, American Academy of
Pediatrics, World Health Organization give a very generalized list of recommendations. The key
word in all of this is Guidelines, these recommendations are a place to start not the final word
about what to eat.
Review of current guidelines in the United States

According to Sally Fallon the food and nutrition guidelines set forth by such entities as
the CDC or the AAP have very little value. Below are the guidelines taken from the two
prominent US institutions for health.
Dietary guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease control are as follows
1. Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free/low-fat milk products
2. Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
3. Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
4. Stays within your daily calorie needs

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American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines that address individual aspects of


nutrition for teens and children. These include such items as:

A Teenagers Nutritional Needs

Calcium: The Teen Bone Builder

Carbohydrates for Energy

Fads and Diets

Fiber: An Important Part of Your Teen's Diet

Food Faux Pas of Adolescence

Food and Adolescent Acne

Healthy and Unhealthy Choices at Fast Food Restaurants

Hidden Caffeine

Hidden Dangers: Food Allergies and Teens

Nourishing Your Growing Teenager

Numbers of Servings per Day for Teenagers

PMS and Sweets

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Protein for the Teen Athlete

Pump Up the Diet with Iron

Many more nutrition guidelines are available on line on key factor in reviewing them is
to determine the quality of the research presented. Not all articles, blogs and information is
created the same. A quality study will involve large numbers of subjects, double blind research
methods and appropriate length of study with long term follow up. Relying on only one study or
article leads to faulty conclusions related to lack of information.
Guidelines in other areas of the world.
Food & Nutrition Guidelines for Namibia

In Namibia, a large portion of the population suffers from several forms of malnutrition
as a result of inadequate or poor food intake. These factors can cause not only individual
suffering and hardship issues, but also places a strain on the countrys economy related loss of
productivity, increased absence form school or work that could be avoided by a proper diet.
Conversely there are a large group of Namibians which, because of an increased food intake and
unbalanced food choices, suffer from obesity and associated chronic diseases, such as diabetes,
hypertension and coronary heart disease.

However, nutritional issues in a person or group of people are not always due to poverty
or a lack of appropriate foods needed to maintain a healthy diet. For many people cultural food
practices, eating habits, poor sanitation or contaminated water impact the food which is then

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consumed. In these situations there is a need to create awareness of appropriate nutritional needs,
educational programs that teach different functions of the many categories of foods, the proper
combination of foods and their preparation. Education in nutrition needs to take in to
consideration the factors that may affect that particular individual and segment of society.

The guidelines in Namibia aim to help people to develop and continue to practice healthy
eating habits. The Guidelines are based upon current scientific and public health knowledge
available at present from the developed world as research in their own country is not adequate.
The guidelines then take in to account data including nutrients and food that are available in the
Namibia, dietary habits, cultural related food practices and current statistics related to morbidity
and mortality in Namibia. The following are the current guidelines:

Eat a variety of foods


Eat vegetables and fruit every day
Eat more fish
Eat beans or meat regularly
Use whole-grain products
Use only iodized salt but use less salt
Eat at least three meals a day
Avoid drinking alcohol
Eat a variety of foods
These guidelines take in to account the foods that are available on a regular basis, any
cultural food practices within the different ethnic groups also currently occupying the country.

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Like many parts of Africa, Namibia has large numbers of refugees fleeing war, poverty and
drought.
In recent years HIV and Ebola have also changed the cultural landscape as family
members and villages are changed by the loss of adults who can work or provide food for their
family.

The Guidelines in Vietnam


The food based dietary guidelines is a very important tool for nutrition education and
communication in Vietnam. As changes occur in the socio-economic status of the country,
Vietnam needs to deal with different nutritional problems that occur in different parts of the
country and within different classes including malnutrition, obesity and undiversified diets at the
same time. The guidelines have been revised and changed many times approximately every 5
years. The Vietnamese government has made a concentrated effort to educate the people of their
country, The Food Guide Pyramid and Food Square made a good set of nutritional education
tool which were disseminated through a wide range of activities and communication channels.
(Hop le T, et al 2011). The government and nutritional experts evaluate the guidelines to reflect
eating patterns and lifestyles of those who need the nutritional education programs the most. In
developing countries like Vietnam, the socio-economic status is changes quickly over a short
period of time. Therefore, the assessment and the implementation progress of the guidelines is
necessary and should be done at frequent intervals and should involve those from multi-sectoral
organizations.
What the World Eats

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Below are graphs that show the average food consumption and calories by country from

The World
This graph depicts
what the world eats.
The diet is heavy on
grains and
sugars/fats. The
average number of

National Geographic.com

The United
States
The US diet contains
excessive amounts
of fat and sugar.
Calories consumed

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Japans diet is more


geared to grains
although as they
have in recent they
have increased
toward of more
western where
sugar and fat have
increased cal/2717

Germany has a
diets with large
amounts of dairy
and eggs with
trans fats and
sugar cal/3350

Argentina tends to
have more meat in
their diet
compared to other
countries. Large
amounts of grain
3159

The statistics for New Mexico show how the state stakes up against the rest of the country.
Nutritional education needs to focus cultural food practices and making changes that still allow
people to celebrate their traditions but improve their overall nutritional status. The statistics
below are pulled from the CDC website

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New Mexico
Adult Statistics for the citizens of New Mexico
Overweight and Obesity
o 36.3% of adults were overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25-29.9.
o 26.4% of adults were obese, with a BMI of 30 or greater.
Dietary Behaviors
o 39.2% of adults reported consuming fruit less than one time daily.
o 21.5% of adults reported consuming vegetables less than one time daily.
Physical Activity
o 50.5% of adults participated in 150 minutes or more of aerobic physical activity
per week.
o 24.3% of adults reported that during the past month, they had not participated in
any physical activity.
Adolescent Statistics
Overweight and Obesity
o 15.0% of adolescents were overweight ( 85th and < 95th percentiles for BMI by
age and sex, based on reference data).
o 12.6% of adolescents were obese (95th percentile BMI by age and sex, based on
reference data).
Dietary Behaviors
o 42.1% of students in grades 9-12 ate fruit or drank 100% fruit juices less than one
time daily.
o 37.6% of students in grades 9-12 consumed vegetables less than one time daily.
o 75.3% of adolescents drank a can, bottle, or glass of soda or pop (not including
diet soda or diet pop, during the 7 days before the survey).

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Physical Activity
o 74.9% of adolescents did not attend daily physical education classes on all 5 days
during an average week when they go to school.
o 68.9% of adolescents were not physically active at least 60 minutes per day on all
7 days.
o 12.7% of adolescents did not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity
on at least 1 day during the 7 days before the survey.

o 26.4% of adolescents watched television 3 or more hours per day on an average


school day.

Summary
There's a lot of talk about the different components of food. Whether you're consuming
carbohydrates, fats, or proteins all of them contain calories. Focusing on one specific component
is not healthy and creates
The Food and Nutrition Guidelines apply to the total diet, and it is not appropriate to use
them to assess the healthiness of individual food items. Similarly, the Food and Nutrition
Guidelines are designed for consideration as a coherent set of advice or information, and the
individual guidelines cannot be considered in isolation.

The recommendations are not appropriate for all members of a family or society. However,
health professionals can largely build on the principles contained in the guidelines when
developing specific diets for groups with special needs.

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Resources

Hop le T1, Van TK, Thanh HK.(2011) Food based dietary guidelines in Vietnam: progress and
lessons learned. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr.

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Namibia (1990) Food and Nutrition Guidelines http://www.fao.org/3/a-as839e.pdf


State of New Mexico (2015) retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/state-localprograms/profiles/new-mexico.html
What the World Eats (2011) Retrieved from http://www.nationalgeographic.com/what-the-worldeats/