Nutritional Requirements

The chemical substances that are required for the production of energy, growth, and body building are called Nutrients. The nutrients we require are Carbohydrates, Proteins, Lipids, Vitamins and Minerals. Some of them are required in large quantities and are therefore called Macro nutrients. For example, Carbohydrates and some minerals like sodium are required in large amounts. Some of the nutrients are required in small amounts often in micrograms. These are called micro nutrients. Vitamins and minerals like Iron, Molybdenum are some of the examples for micro nutrients. The procurement of nutrients is called Nutrition.
 Carbohydrates are a group of compounds that contain Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Carbohydrates are of two types Complex carbohydrates are broken down to simple sugars by hydrolysis in the digestive system and the simple sugars are absorbed. Sugars like Lactose and Sucrose are hydrolyzed by Lactase and Sucrose in the digestive system. Starch is converted into glucose in the presence of Amylase Cellulose is present in plant cells. We can’t digest cellulose. Therefore cellulose has no nutritive value for us but it adds weight to the food and helps in slow and smooth movement of food in the digestive system.

Glucose is formed from the hydrolysis of the complex carbohydrates is used by the body for the production of energy. One gram of glucose gives 4 kilo calories of energy. Excess of Glucose is converted to either glycogen or fats and stored in the body.

Proteins are made up of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Some proteins may have sulphur in Small amounts. Proteins are made up of small units called amino acids. In the digestive system the proteins breaks down into amino acids by a proteolytic enzymes and are thus absorbed from the intestine. There are 24 different amino acids in nature and of these only 20 amino acids are present in most of the proteins.

Amino acids are 2 types
1. Essential amino acids: These amino acids can not be synthesized by our body but we get only through food. These amino acids are essential for the normal growth and development.
Ex: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylamine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine and Histidine

2. Non- Essential amino acids: These amino acids are synthesized by our body. Proteins are of 2 types

1. Biologically Complete Proteins: In this type proteins from meat, milk and eggs are rich source for amino acids.

2. Biologically incomplete proteins: In this type, proteins from plant sources (Vegetables, Grains, Fruits etc) have lesser amounts of essential amino acids.

Fats: Fats are made up of fatty acids and glycerol. Both fatty acids and glycerol contain Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fats are solids at 20°C. If, they are liquids at this temperature then they are called oils. Fats are digested in the digestive system by Hydrolysis to fatty acids and glycerol.

The fatty acids are of 2 types:
1) Saturated fatty acids:
These are synthesized in our body.
2) Unsaturated fatty acids: Our body can not synthesize some of the unsaturated fatty acids and it is essential that they are present in the diet we eat.
Ex: Linoleic acid

Cholesterol: It is also a type of fat present in oils and fats.
Ex: Eggs, Butter, Ghee, Meat, Oils etc.

Excess of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids are deposited in the arteries and interfere with the blood flow. This may lead to heart attacks. One gram of fat gives 9.45 kilo calories of energy; unsaturated fatty acids are required for growth and development.

These are required for growth, repair regulation of osmotic pressure and other vital processes. Minerals present in the body are classified into 2 types.

1) Major elements: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride and Phosphorus

2) Trace Elements: Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Zinc, Copper and Fluorine. Sodium and Potassium ions are required for maintaining the osmotic pressure in the body and for the activity of nervous system.

Calcium is required for the formation of bones, teeth, coagulation of blood, muscle contraction, activity of the nervous system and other vital activities. It is available in milk, milk products, green leafy vegetables etc. We require about 400-500 mg of calcium per day.

Iron helps to carry Oxygen from lungs to the tissues. About 60-70% of Iron in the body is present in the blood. Iron is available in green leafy vegetables, liver, meat, fish etc. Deficiency of Iron causes Anemia.

Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency results in goiter. Iodine is added to common salt to prevent goiter in the population. Fluorine is required for the proper formation of bones and enamel on the teeth. Excess of Fluorine intake causes Fluorosis.

Water is the most essential constituent of life. About 90% of water is present in Protoplasm. It is a universal solvent and is a medium for a number of metabolic activities. It helps in regulation of body temperature, the transport of substances from one part of the body to the other part digested food, Hormones, excretory wastes etc.

Balanced Diet:
Food having all the nutrients in quantities required for the body is called balanced diet. A balanced diet has sufficient amounts of Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals. The amount of nutrients required for the body may be different in males and females, children and adults in disease conditions and in different states of physical and mental activities. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been carrying out studies on the requirements of balanced diet for the different age groups in India.

Health Agencies, Hospitals and Eradication of Blindness

Health Agencies:
Health is wealth to the people. If health is good every thing will be good to the common man. But if health is attacked by a disease it requires an expert or a well trained person to identify the disease process, factors causing the disease and treat the disease in a suitable way. Sometimes, a disease may affect the whole community too. Therefore in such situations, precautionary and preventive measures are to be taken by the health agencies and provide medical treatment to the diseased persons. Health of the individual is as important as the health of the community. Keeping this in view, both state and central govt. devised a health care system for rural and urban population.

The purpose of the health care system is to improve the status of health of urban and rural population. Its main goals to achieve are to reduce mortality, reduce population growth, improvement of nutritional values and providing basic sanitation and literacy.

Hospitals are the major components of the health care system. In our country there are two types of hospitals - Government hospitals and private hospitals.
Keeping in view of locality and habitation, different types of health care systems are devised to meet the health care needs of rural and urban population.

Rural health care systems: Various types of health care systems are functioning for the rural population. These include village health guides, local dayees, anganwadi workers, rural hospitals, Sub- Center hospitals, primary health centers (P.H.C) and community health centers.

Village health guides: Health guide is a person who wants to do Social service at his or her spare time in small communities. They receive Honorarium in a form of small amount of money from the Government. Health guide is a connecting link between Government and Community. Government trains the Health Guide and provides with necessary information for the treatment and small kit of medicines.

Local dayee: In olden days deliveries of a pregnant Woman are usually done by local dayees only. But they were not aware of the scientific techniques and the deliveries in unhygienic conditions endanger the life of both mother and child. Even now a days the same conditions occur in rural areas. Hence under rural health scheme of the Government, dayees are trained properly in a scientific manner and are also provided with information on mother and child health care and small family norms.

Anganwadi Workers: Anganwadi means courtyard, Under the Integrated Child development scheme, one anganwadi worker is allotted to a Population of 1000. Anganwadi worker is trained in various aspects of health, nutrition and child development.

Rural Hospitals: In the remote and interior rural areas these hospitals are situated. They are intended to serve the rural population who can not afford to go to towns and cities for small health problems.

Sub - Center Hospitals: A sub center Hospital is established for a Population size of 3000 - 5000. Each sub - centre is looked after by a male and a female health worker.

Primary Health Centers (P.H.C.): Each PHC covers a population of 1,00,000 and spread over about 100 Villages and it is intended to meet the needs of rural population on health grounds. The PHC is looked after by a Medical Officer, Block Extension Educator, One female health assistant, a compounder, a driver and a laboratory technician. It is equipped with a Jeep and necessary facilities to carry out small surgeries.

Community Health Centers: Each Community Health Center covers a population of one lakh. It will have 30 beds and is looked after by specialists in medicine and surgery. It is equipped with a X-ray machine and necessary facilities to carry out surgeries and treat complicated cases.

Urban Health Care: These are generally located in the district head quarters to meet the health Care needs of same district people or other near by districts. These hospitals have doctors, compounders, nurses and specialists in different branches of medicine and surgery.

These hospitals are attached to medical colleges to train doctors and nurses and hence are called Teaching hospitals.

Eradication of Blindness:
Eye is the most important sense organ as it has a wonderful mechanism in perceiving objects we see around us. Hence, eye is to be protected throughout the life.

Blindness can occur both in children as well as in aged persons. In adults blindness occurs due to certain diseases like diabetes, glaucoma and cataract.
Due to some genetically reasons and under nourished children may be effected by the blindness. One of the major problems of under nourishment is Vitamin A deficiency. As many as 44% children suffer from moderate degree of protein energy malnutrition while 9% suffer from severe form of malnutrition.

Vitamin A deficiency is seen affecting over 7 Million Children in our Country. About 60,000 Children become blind every year due to Vitamin-A deficiency in their diet. 12 to 15% of our populations are in the age group of pre-school children.

The national goal is eradication of blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency because this preventable blindness. There are various agencies that can motivate Children, Parents and Society like teachers, village guides, anganwadi workers, primary health centers and publicity through electronic Media like T.V. Radio etc. are to achieve this goal.