Academic Master

Health Care

Nutritional Guidelines

Part One – Nutritional Guidelines and Recommendations

The rationale behind the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines is to provide evidence-based education to Americans on what should be eaten in daily meals. These guidelines are recommended in order to promote optimal health and prevent chronic diseases while also taking into account the cultural and personal preferences of Americans for food choices. The specific recommendations outlined in the 2020-2025 guidelines aim to help Americans of all ages and backgrounds make informed decisions about their diets by emphasizing nutrient-dense foods. Moreover, the outlined recommendations suggest limiting added sugars as well as saturated fats. These guidelines recognize the importance of considering individual needs, preferences, and health conditions in order to promote sustainable food practices that benefit the environment when making dietary choices to support local communities within and around the United States. In a nutshell, these recommendations encourage Americans to take a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products to meet individual nutrient needs.

In addition, when looking at nutrition labels, it is significant that an individual pays attention to the serving size of the plate, calories per serving, and the amounts of fats, including trans fats, dietary fibre, cholesterol, as well as sugars, protein, and total carbohydrates. By monitoring these nutrients on a label, individuals can make informed decisions about their food choices. They take into consideration what they should eat to ensure that they are consuming a healthy and balanced diet. Furthermore, My Plate is a visual representation of the recommended portions for each food group that should be present on a plate. The representation includes half of the My Plate as fruits and vegetables, a quarter as protein foods, and the remaining quarter of the plate as grains. It is important to follow My Plate guidelines because it promotes a balanced diet, which can lead to improved overall health and reduced risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and certain cancers. To utilize My Plate in planning meals, one should aim to incorporate a variety of foods from each food group into their diet while also monitoring portion sizes according to age and gender.

In conclusion, according to many research studies and surveys, a significant percentage of Americans do not follow the guidelines recommended for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is evident from the fact that more than two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese, and a large percentage do not engage in sufficient physical activity on a regular basis. After reviewing the guidelines for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I made some changes in my nutritional choices. One of the significant changes was incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet. I realized after reviewing the guidelines that I was not consuming enough of these nutrient-dense foods which are essential for maintaining good health.

Part Two – Nutrition Needs through Different Stages of Life

During pregnancy, adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals is crucial for the proper development and growth of the fetus. Some of the most important vitamins and minerals that are needed include folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, and iron. Folic acid is necessary for the development of the neural tube, which later develops into the baby’s spinal cord and brain. Iron is essential for the formation of haemoglobin in the red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body. Calcium is needed for the development of strong bones and teeth, nerve transmission, and muscle function. Lastly, vitamin D is crucial for the absorption of calcium and proper bone development in the fetus.

The decline in the nutritional status and health of American children and adolescents is multifactorial, with factors such as increased consumption of low-nutrient food and beverages, increased screen time, decreased physical activity levels, high-calorie, and lack of access to healthy food products in certain communities. As a result, there has been an increase in health issues that include obesity, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, which were once seen only in adult people but are now starting to occur in children and teens. Moreover, for proper growth, development, and overall health, some of the most important vitamins and minerals that children and teens need are calcium for strong bones, iron for healthy blood cells, vitamin D for proper calcium absorption, vitamin B for energy production, and vitamin C for a healthy immune system. In case of inadequate intake of these essential nutrients, children and teens may be at risk for developmental delays, anaemia, weakened immune systems, and other significant health issues.

In essence, to improve the nutritional status and health of children and adolescents, parents can encourage healthy eating habits in children by offering a variety of balanced diets and nutritious foods for meals and snacks. Parents can foster this habit by limiting sugary and processed foods, providing adequate sleep, promoting physical activity and exercise, and ensuring regular visits to healthcare professionals to monitor growth and overall health. Besides, as individuals age, they often face a variety of physical, psychological, and social changes that can interfere with their ability to consume nutritious food. Some of these issues seen with the elderly include decreased appetite, limited mobility, difficulty chewing or swallowing, isolation, and depression. Consequently, these issues can impact nutrition by leading to malnutrition, weight loss, decreased immunity, and other health complications in elderly people.

To address these issues, healthcare professionals can provide older adults with education on proper nutrition and ways to adapt their diets to meet their changing needs. This education can include recommendations for foods that are high in protein and fibre as well as tips on how to make meals more softer and appealing for older adults. As more and more Americans are turning towards healthier lifestyles, there has been an increase in interest regarding the use of supplements to fill any nutritional gaps. However, whether or not Americans need to take supplements largely depends on their individual diet and lifestyle habits. Therefore, individuals who have balanced dietary choices that include vegetables, grains, fruits, and lean protein may not need to take supplements. However, adolescents and adults need to take supplements after consulting with healthcare professionals to ensure that the individuals are receiving enough essential nutrients.

Part Three – Factors that Contribute to Well-Being

Exercise is an essential activity for human beings that keeps an individual going in his/her life in the daily routine. There are several types of exercise, including aerobic, flexibility, strength training, and balance exercises. Each type of exercise provides unique health benefits and can contribute to an overall healthy and improved lifestyle. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans enlist that adult people should perform moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes weekly. Besides, muscle-strengthening activities should be performed by adolescents and adults at least two days per week.

However, studies show that a large percentage of Americans, especially adults, do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. In fact, only about 20% of adults and less than 50% of children and adolescents meet these recommendations. The reasons for not meeting these guidelines vary, but common barriers include access to safe and affordable places to exercise, lack of time, and a culture that prioritizes sedentary activities such as using electronic devices.

Physical activity has been shown to have numerous benefits for overall health and well-being as it is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, physical activity can improve mental health by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, which increases and improves cognitive function. Moreover, physical activity can also aid in weight management by burning calories and increasing metabolism. Thus, physical activity is crucial for maintaining good health and overall well-being.

Physical activity on a regular basis reduces the risk of chronic illnesses and helps to improve optimal health. It helps to maintain a healthy body weight, improve glucose metabolism, lower cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and decrease inflammation in the body. These psychological changes contribute to the prevention of illnesses such as anxiety, hypertension, and coronary heart disease. Moreover, physical activity has been shown to slow down the risk of developing different types of cancer, such as colon cancer, as such activity helps in the absorption of materials during the process of digestion, which reduces the risk of forming clumps or cells or polyps inside the colon.

In a nutshell, nutrition is a crucial factor that affects our mental health, including behaviour, mood, and brain functions. A well-balanced and nutrient-dense diet has been associated with improved cognitive function, emotional stability, and better mental health outcomes. For instance, certain nutrients such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B, and minerals like magnesium and zinc improve cognitive or brain functions.



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