essay about nutrition month 2020

How Nutrition Impacts the Brain and Mental Health

Posted on March 2, 2020 by Aspen Avery . This entry was posted in Eating Well and tagged eating well , National Nutrition Month . Bookmark the permalink .

It’s March, which means National Nutrition Month is officially here! This week, The Whole U begins our month-long celebration of food by focusing on nutrition and how it impacts brain health. We caught up with UW Medicine dietitian Kristine Carlson to highlight the importance of how our food choices impact brain function and mental health.

Learn more about National Nutrition Month here and be sure to register here if you haven’t already!

How is Brain and Mental Health Affected by Food?

Brain function and mental health might not be the first thing you think about when you think about the food and drinks you put into your body, but Kristine Carlson draws a comparison between the brain and another complex, high-performance machine.

“Most people probably don’t equate a healthy diet with a good mood or better memory,” Carlson says. “But, like an expensive car, our brains require premium fuel to function at its best. This function includes managing our emotions and mood disorders.”

Carlson says the old adage “You are what you eat” certainly applies when it comes to eating to nourish the brain and that there exists a great variety of foods that promote healthy brain function.

“There is no single magic food that one must eat for brain health,” Carlson says. “However, like with most approaches to nutrition and health, a variety of nutrients should be included in your diet for optimal benefits and brain health.”

Foods that Improve the Brain

Below, Kristine highlights some food items that research has shown to power brain and body alike.

essay about nutrition month 2020

“These foods may slow cognitive decline which makes them great for protecting our brains and keeping us sharp.”

essay about nutrition month 2020

“Omega-3s play a powerful role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against decline.”

essay about nutrition month 2020

These help improve memory.

essay about nutrition month 2020

“Enjoy that morning cup for a sharpened sense of concentration.”

essay about nutrition month 2020

In research, turmeric has reduced symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

essay about nutrition month 2020

To feel more emotionally balanced and foster positive energy through our nutritional choices, Carlson advised us to “eat foods that give us energy, joy and fuel for our bodies.”

“Eating high-quality foods that contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will nourish the brain in a positive way,” she says.

At the same time, Kristine warns us that “a diet high in processed foods and refined sugars can impair brain function and worsen mental health symptoms.”

Debunking Food Myths

In this day and age, there is tons of information about what you should be eating and what food items are deemed good or bad for you. Thus, it can be difficult to sort through all the noise and identify what are myths or facts .

When it comes to myths around nutrition and brain health, Kristine points out, “you may see advertisements and ‘diet programs’ out there touting “superfoods” and “brain foods.”

To get the most out of your diet, “you should incorporate a variety of foods, eat a diet high in unprocessed foods and refined sugars, load up on colorful fruits and vegetables, and above all, enjoy and savor your food.”

So next time you are digging into a meal or grocery shopping, think about these foods that will help keep your mind sharp, focused, and balanced!

Get started today with The Whole U’s resources for eating well here !

Get even more from your experience working at the UW by  heading to our events page where you’ll find do-it-yourself downloads that will help you take life to the next level—everything from helpful kitchen “cheat-sheets” for creating delicious, nutritious meals to workout plans for getting stronger and healthier overall.

One Thought on “How Nutrition Impacts the Brain and Mental Health”

On march 3, 2020 at 10:41 am, deirdre sumida said:.

I would think the number one thing to mention would be to avoid seed oils. “Deep Nutrition,” by Catherine Shanahan, is very instructive on this topic.

Comments are closed.

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  • Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, RDN Karen Chapman-Novakofski Affiliations Editor-in-Chief Search for articles by this author

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2020.01.011

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Nutrition, Food and Diet in Health and Longevity: We Eat What We Are

Suresh i. s. rattan.

1 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

Gurcharan Kaur

2 Department of Biotechnology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar 143005, India

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Nutrition generally refers to the macro- and micro-nutrients essential for survival, but we do not simply eat nutrition. Instead, we eat animal- and plant-based foods without always being conscious of its nutritional value. Furthermore, various cultural factors influence and shape our taste, preferences, taboos and practices towards preparing and consuming food as a meal and diet. Biogerontological understanding of ageing has identified food as one of the three foundational pillars of health and survival. Here we address the issues of nutrition, food and diet by analyzing the biological importance of macro- and micro-nutrients including hormetins, discussing the health claims for various types of food, and by reviewing the general principles of healthy dietary patterns, including meal timing, caloric restriction, and intermittent fasting. We also present our views about the need for refining our approaches and strategies for future research on nutrition, food and diet by incorporating the molecular, physiological, cultural and personal aspects of this crucial pillar of health, healthy ageing and longevity.

1. Introduction

The terms nutrition, food and diet are often used interchangeably. However, whereas nutrition generally refers to the macro- and micro-nutrients essential for survival, we do not simply eat nutrition, which could, in principle, be done in the form of a pill. Instead, we eat food which normally originates from animal- and plant-based sources, without us being aware of or conscious of its nutritional value. Even more importantly, various cultural factors influence and shape our taste, preferences, taboos and practices towards preparing and consuming food as a meal and diet [ 1 ]. Furthermore, geo-political-economic factors, such as governmental policies that oversee the production and consumption of genetically modified foods, geological/climatic challenges of growing such crops in different countries, and the economic affordability of different populations for such foods, also influence dietary habits and practices [ 2 , 3 ]. On top of all this lurks the social evolutionary history of our species, previously moving towards agriculture-based societies from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, now becoming the consumers of industrially processed food products that affect our general state of health, the emergence of diseases, and overall lifespan [ 1 , 4 ]. The aim of this article is to provide a commentary and perspective on nutrition, food and diet in the context of health, healthy ageing and longevity.

Biogerontological understanding of ageing has identified food as one of the three foundational pillars of health and survival. The other two pillars, especially in the case of human beings, are physical exercise and socio-mental engagement [ 5 , 6 , 7 ]. A huge body of scientific and evidence-based information has been amassed with respect to the qualitative and quantitative nature of optimal nutrition for human health and survival. Furthermore, a lot more knowledge has developed regarding how different types of foods provide different kinds of nutrition to different extents, and how different dietary practices have either health-beneficial or health-harming effects.

Here we endeavor to address these issues of nutrition, food and diet by analyzing the biological importance of macro- and micro-nutrients, and by discussing the health-claims about animal-based versus plant-based foods, fermented foods, anti-inflammatory foods, functional foods, foods for brain health, and so on. Finally, we discuss the general principles of healthy dietary patterns, including the importance of circadian rhythms, meal timing, chronic caloric restriction (CR), and intermittent fasting for healthy ageing and extended lifespan [ 8 , 9 ]. We also present our views about the need for refining our approaches and strategies for future research on nutrition, food and diet by incorporating the molecular, physiological, cultural and personal aspects of this crucial pillar of health, healthy ageing and longevity.

2. Nutrition for Healthy Ageing

The science of nutrition or the “nutritional science” is a highly advanced field of study, and numerous excellent books, journals and other resources are available for fundamental information about all nutritional components [ 10 ]. Briefly, the three essential macronutrients which provide the basic materials for building biological structures and for producing energy required for all physiological and biochemical processes are proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. Additionally, about 18 micronutrients, comprised of minerals and vitamins, facilitate the optimal utilization of macronutrients via their role in the catalysis of numerous biochemical processes, in the enhancement of their bioavailability and absorption, and in the balancing of the microbiome. Scientific literature is full of information about almost all nutritional components with respect to their importance and role in basic metabolism for survival and health throughout one’s life [ 10 ].

In the context of ageing, a major challenge to maintain health in old age is the imbalanced nutritional intake resulting into nutritional deficiency or malnutrition [ 11 , 12 ]. Among the various reasons for such a condition is the age-related decline in the digestive and metabolic activities, exacerbated by a reduced sense of taste and smell and worsening oral health, including the ability to chew and swallow [ 13 , 14 ]. Furthermore, an increased dependency of the older persons on medications for the management or treatment of various chronic conditions can be antagonistic to certain essential nutrients. For example, long term use of metformin, which is the most frequently prescribed drug against Type 2 diabetes, reduces the levels of vitamin B12 and folate in the body [ 15 , 16 ]. Some other well-known examples of the drugs used for the management or treatment of age-related conditions are cholesterol-lowering medicine statin which can cause coenzyme Q10 levels to be too low; various diuretics (water pills) can cause potassium levels to be too low; and antacids can decrease the levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and other minerals [ 15 , 16 ]. Thus, medications used in the treatment of chronic diseases in old age can also be “nutrient wasting” or “anti-nutrient” and may cause a decrease in the absorption, bioavailability and utilization of essential micronutrients and may have deleterious effects to health [ 11 ]. In contrast, many nutritional components have the potential to interact with various drugs leading to reduced therapeutic efficacy of the drug or increased adverse effects of the drug, which can have serious health consequences. For example, calcium in dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt can inhibit the absorption of antibiotics in the tetracycline and quinolone class, thus compromising their ability to treat infection effectively. Some other well-known examples of food sources which can alter the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of various drugs are grape fruits, bananas, apple juice, orange juice, soybean flour, walnuts and high-fiber foods (see: https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2022/food-medication-interaction.html (accessed on 13 November 2022)).

It is also known that the nutritional requirements of older persons differ both qualitatively and quantitatively from young adults [ 11 ]. This is mainly attributed to the age-related decline in the bioavailability of nutrients, reduced appetite, also known as ‘anorexia of ageing,’ as well as energy expenditure [ 12 , 17 , 18 ]. Therefore, in order to maintain a healthy energy balance, the daily uptake of total calories may need to be curtailed without adversely affecting the nutritional balance. This may be achieved by using nutritional supplements with various vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients, without adding to the burden of total calories [ 12 , 17 , 18 ]. More recently, the science of nutrigenomics (how various nutrients affect gene expression), and the science of nutrigenetics (how individual genetic variations respond to different nutrients) are generating novel and important information on the role of nutrients in health, survival and longevity.

3. Food for Healthy Ageing

The concept of healthy ageing is still being debated among biogerontologists, social-gerontologists and medical practioners. It is generally agreed that an adequate physical and mental independence in the activities of daily living can be a pragmatic definition of health in old age [ 7 ]. Thus, healthy ageing can be understood as a state of maintaining, recovering and enhancing health in old age, and the foods and dietary practices which facilitate achieving this state can be termed as healthy foods and diets.

From this perspective, although nutritional requirements for a healthy and long life could be, in principle, fulfilled by simply taking macro- and micro-nutrients in their pure chemical forms, that is not realistic, practical, attractive or acceptable to most people. In practice, nutrition is obtained by consuming animals and plants as sources of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients. There is a plethora of tested and reliable information available about various food sources with respect to the types and proportion of various nutrients present in them. However, there are still ongoing discussions and debates as to what food sources are best for human health and longevity [ 19 , 20 ]. Often such discussions are emotionally highly charged with arguments based on faith, traditions, economy and, more recently, on political views with respect to the present global climate crisis and sustainability.

Scientifically, there is no ideal food for health and longevity. Varying agricultural and food production practices affect the nutritional composition, durability and health beneficial values of various foods. Furthermore, the highly complex “science of cooking” [ 21 ], evolved globally during thousands of years of human cultural evolution, has discovered the pros and cons of food preparation methods such as soaking, boiling, frying, roasting, fermenting and other modes of extracting, all with respect to how best to use these food sources for increasing the digestibility and bioavailability of various nutrients, as well as how to eliminate the dangers and toxic effects of other chemicals present in the food.

The science of food preparation and utilization has also discovered some paradoxical uses of natural compounds, especially the phytochemicals such as polyphenols, flavonoids, terpenoids and others. Most of these compounds are produced by plants as toxins in response to various stresses, and as defenses against microbial infections [ 22 , 23 ]. However, humans have discovered, mostly by trial and error, that numerous such toxic compounds present in algae, fungi, herbs and other sources can be used in small doses as spices and condiments with potential benefits of food preservation, taste enhancement and health promotion [ 23 ].

The phenomenon of “physiological hormesis” [ 24 ] is a special example of the health beneficial effects of phytotoxins. According to the concept of hormesis, a deliberate and repeated use of low doses of natural or synthetic toxins in the food can induce one or more stress responses in cells and tissues, followed by the stimulation of numerous defensive repair and maintenance processes [ 25 , 26 ]. Such hormesis-inducing compounds and other conditions are known as hormetins, categorized as nutritional, physical, biological and mental hormetins [ 27 , 28 , 29 ]. Of these, nutritional hormetins, present naturally in the food or as synthetic hormetins to be used as food supplements, are attracting great attention from food-researchers and the nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industry [ 27 , 30 ]. Other food supplements being tested and promoted for health and longevity are various prebiotics and probiotics strengthening and balancing our gut microbiota [ 31 , 32 , 33 ].

Recently, food corporations in pursuit of both exploiting and creating a market for healthy ageing products, have taken many initiatives in producing new products under the flagship of nutraceuticals, super-foods, functional foods, etc. Such products are claimed and marketed not only for their nutritional value, but also for their therapeutic potentials [ 10 ]. Often the claims for such foods are hyped and endorsed as, for example, anti-inflammatory foods, food for the brain, food for physical endurance, complete foods, anti-ageing foods and so on [ 34 , 35 , 36 ]. Traditional foods enriched with a variety of minerals, vitamins and hormetins are generally promoted as “functional foods” [ 37 ]. Even in the case of milk and dairy products, novel and innovative formulations are claimed to improve their functionality and health promotional abilities [ 38 ]. However, there is yet a lot to be discovered and understood about such reformulated, fortified and redesigned foods with respect to their short- and long-term effects on physiology, microbiota balance and metabolic disorders in the context of health and longevity.

4. Diet and Culture for Healthy and Long Life

What elevates food to become diet and a meal is the manner and the context in which that food is consumed [ 4 ]. Numerous traditional and socio-cultural facets of dietary habits can be even more significant than their molecular, biochemical, and physiological concerns regarding their nutritional ingredients and composition. For example, various well-known diets, such as the paleo, the ketogenic, the Chinese, the Ayurvedic, the Mediterranean, the kosher, the halal, the vegetarian, and more recently, the vegan diet, are some of the diverse expressions of such cultural, social, and political practices [ 1 ]. The consequent health-related claims of such varied dietary patterns have influenced their acceptance and adaptation globally and cross-culturally.

Furthermore, our rapidly developing understanding about how biological daily rhythms affect and regulate nutritional needs, termed “chrono-nutrition”, has become a crucial aspect of optimal and healthy eating habits [ 39 , 40 ]. A similar situation is the so-called “nutrient timing” that involves consuming food at strategic times for achieving certain specific outcomes, such as weight reduction, muscle strength, and athletic performance. The meal-timing and dietary patterns are more anticipatory of health-related outcomes than any specific foods or nutrients by themselves [ 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 ]. However, encouraging people to adopt healthy dietary patterns and meal-timing requires both the availability, accessibility and affordability of food, and the intentional, cultural and behavioral preferences of the people.

Looking back at the widely varying and constantly changing cultural history of human dietary practices, one realizes that elaborate social practices, rituals and normative behaviors for obtaining, preparing and consuming food, are often more critical aspects of health-preservation and health-promotion than just the right combination of nutrients. Therefore, one cannot decide on a universal food composition and consumption pattern ignoring the history and the cultural practices and preferences of the consumers. After all, “we eat what we are”, and not, as the old adage says, “we are what we eat”.

5. Conclusions and Perspectives

Food is certainly one of the foundational pillars of good and sustained health. Directed and selective evolution through agricultural practices and experimental manipulation and modification of food components have been among the primary targets for improving food quality. This is further authenticated by extensive research performed, mainly on experimental animal and cell culture model systems, demonstrating the health-promoting effects of individual nutritional components and biological extracts in the regulation, inhibition or stimulation of different molecular pathways with reference to healthy ageing and longevity [ 45 ]. Similarly, individual nutrients or a combination of a few nutrients are being tested for their potential use as calorie restriction mimetics, hormetins and senolytics [ 46 , 47 , 48 ]. However, most commonly, these therapeutic strategies follow the traditional “one target, one missile” pharmaceutical-like approach, and consider ageing as a treatable disease. Based on the results obtained from such experimental studies, the claims and promises made which can often be either naïve extrapolations from experimental model systems to human applications, or exaggerated claims and even false promises [ 49 ].

Other innovative, and possibly holistic, food- and diet-based interventional strategies for healthy ageing are adopting regimens such as caloric- and dietary-restriction, as well as time-restricted eating (TRE). Intermittent fasting (IF), the regimen based on manipulating the eating/fasting timing, is another promising interventional strategy for healthy ageing. Chrono-nutrition, which denotes the link between circadian rhythms and nutrient-sensing pathways, is a novel concept illustrating how meal timings alignment with the inherent molecular clocks of the cells functions to preserve metabolic health. TRE, which is a variant of the IF regimen, claims that food intake timing in alignment with the circadian rhythm is more beneficial for health and longevity [ 39 , 40 , 41 , 50 ]. Moreover, TRE has translational benefits and is easy to complete in the long term as it only requires limiting the eating time to 8–10 h during the day and the fasting window of 12–16 h without restricting the amount of calories consumed. Some pilot studies on the TRE regimen have reported improvement in glucose tolerance and the management of body weight and blood pressure in obese adults as well as men at risk of T2D. Meta-analyses of several pilot scale studies in human subjects suggest and support the beneficial effects of a TRE regimen on several health indicators [ 39 , 50 ]. Several other practical recommendations, based on human clinical trials have also been recommended for meeting the optimal requirements of nutrition in old age, and for preventing or slowing down the progression of metabolic syndromes [ 39 , 40 , 41 , 50 ].

What we have earlier discussed in detail [ 4 ] is supported by the following quote: “…food is more than just being one of the three pillars of health. Food is both the foundation and the scaffolding for the building and survival of an organism on a daily basis. Scientific research on the macro- and micro-nutrient components of food has developed deep understanding of their molecular, biochemical and physiological roles and modes of action. Various recommendations are repeatedly made and modified for some optimal daily requirements of nutrients for maintaining and enhancing health, and for the prevention and treatment of diseases. Can we envisage developing a “nutrition pill” for perfect health, which could be used globally, across cultures, and at all ages? We don’t think so” [ 4 ].

Our present knowledge about the need and significance of nutrients is mostly gathered from the experimental studies using individual active components isolated from various food sources. In reality, however, these nutritional components co-exist interactively with numerous other compounds, and often become chemically modified through the process of cooking and preservation, affecting their stability and bioavailability. There is still a lot to be understood about how the combination of foods, cooking methods and dietary practices affect health-related outcomes, especially with respect to ageing and healthspan.

An abundance of folk knowledge in all cultures about food-related ‘dos and don’ts’ requires scientific verification and validation. We also need to reconsider and change our present scientific protocols for nutritional research, which seem to be impractical for food and dietary research at the level of the population. It is a great scientific achievement that we have amassed a body of information with respect to the nature of nutritional components required for health and survival, the foods which can provide those nutritional components and the variety of dietary and eating practices which seem to be optimal for healthy survival and longevity.

Finally, whereas abundant availability of and accessibility to food in some parts of the world has led to over-consumption and consequent life-style-induced metabolic diseases and obesity, in many other parts of the world food scarcity and economic disparity continue to perpetuate starvation, malnutrition, poor health and shortened lifespan. Often, it is not a lack of knowledge about the optimal nutrition, food and diet that leads to making bad choices; rather, it is either our inability to access and afford healthy foods or our gullibility to fall prey to the exaggerated claims in the commercial interests of food producing and marketing companies. We must continue to gather more scientific information and knowledge about the biochemical, physiological and cultural aspects of nutrition, food and diet, which should then be recommended and applied wisely and globally, incorporating the social, cultural and environmental needs of all. After all, “we eat what we are”, and not merely “we are what we eat”!

Funding Statement

One of the authors, GK, was funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) under Cognitive Science Research Initiative (CSRI), Government of India, grant (DST/CSRI/2018/99). This funding agency has no role in study design, manuscript writing, and data interpretation.

Author Contributions

Both authors (S.I.S.R. and G.K.) conceptualized and wrote the paper equally. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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March is national nutrition month®: time to celebrate a world of flavor.

National_Nutrition_Month-2022 copy

National Nutrition Month ®  is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy), which happens to be the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Each year the Academy choses a different theme for the month with the overarching goal of achieving its vision of, “a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition.”

The theme for 2022 is Celebrate a World of Flavors ! Celebrating flavors from cultures around the world is an inspirational way to encourage overall health and well-being through food and appreciate diversity as we gather around the table. By embracing our individual nutrition needs, personal goals, unique backgrounds and tastes, this year’s theme provides an encouraging springboard to enjoy family meals as a healthy habit that celebrates heritage and includes new foods and flavors.

The Academy has provided a plan for the month to help consumers Celebrate a World of Flavor and make informed choices to enjoy food and build healthful eating habits. You can encourage shoppers to take part each week:

Week One : Eat a variety of nutritious foods by including nutrient-rich foods and beverages that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and learn how to make the best use of Nutrition Facts labels . Strive to incorporate your favorite cultural foods and traditions.

Week Two : Find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who specializes in your unique needs to help personalize nutrition guidance to meet your health goals. Ask your doctor for a referral, and Find a Nutrition Expert .

Week Three : Plan your meals and snacks by choosing healthful recipes and credible tips from RDNs. Use a grocery list to shop for nutrient-rich foods and beverages. Check to see if your supermarket provides nutrition resources and practical information from registered dietitians. So many now have RDNs connecting with consumers online, in-store and in the media (visit your supermarket website).  

Week Four : Create delicious, nutritious family meals at home by exploring a bit to fine-tune your cooking and meal prep skills to include food safety practices in your own home kitchen. Try new flavors and foods from around the world.

Week Five : Put it all together:

  • Eat a variety of foods that work for you and celebrate your heritage.
  • Rely on the guidance of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs).
  • Plan your meals and snacks with tips and inspiration from your grocery store and RDNs.
  • Create delicious, nutritious family meals at home.

Bottomline, help shoppers celebrate the perfect combination of nutritious foods, expert advice and tastes from around the world this month as we all gather around the table with friends and family. Happy National Nutrition Month ® and learn more about the Family Meals Movement !

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2020 Global Nutrition Report

The 2020 Global Nutrition Report looks beyond global and national patterns, revealing significant inequalities in nutrition outcomes within countries and populations. Based on the best-available data, in-depth analysis and expert opinion rooted in evidence, the report identifies critical actions to achieve nutrition equity. Everyone deserves access to healthy, affordable food and quality nutrition care. Photo: UNICEF/Vishwanathan.

The 2020 Global Nutrition Report in the context of Covid-19

The Global Nutrition Report's emphasis on nutritional well-being for all, particularly the most vulnerable, has a heightened significance in the face of this new global threat. The need for more equitable, resilient and sustainable food and health systems has never been more urgent.

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Executive summary

Malnutrition remains a pressing global challenge. Some progress has been made towards ending malnutrition. But this progress has been slow and deeply unfair. Now is the time to take action and overcome the barriers holding back progress to end malnutrition.

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Chapter One

Introduction: towards global nutrition equity

The vision of a world free from malnutrition means leaving no one behind. Understand why equity is the missing piece in the puzzle for ending malnutrition – and how a pro-equity agenda is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Chapter Two

Inequalities in the global burden of malnutrition

Learn about how the burden of malnutrition is unequally distributed by examining factors such as location, age, sex, wealth and education. What progress is being made towards meeting nutrition targets at the global, regional and national levels?

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Chapter Three

Mainstreaming nutrition within universal health coverage

Nutrition care should form part of the wider package of primary healthcare. The commitment to provide universal health coverage presents an opportunity to make this a reality. Explore the benefits and challenges of mainstreaming nutrition care using the health system framework.

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Chapter Four

Food systems and nutrition equity

Food systems need to change: inequities currently impact the quality, availability and affordability of food. Explore how nutrition outcomes could be improved by rethinking food systems – especially the food environment – to ensure that healthy and sustainably produced food is the most accessible, affordable and desirable choice for all.

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Chapter Five

Equitable financing for nutrition

More investments and strengthened accountability will be needed to meet global nutrition goals. Whether using traditional resources or innovative approaches, financing should target those most in need. What might equity-focused investments to improve nutrition look like?

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Chapter Six

Ensuring equitable nutrition: a collective responsibility

We all have a role to play in ending malnutrition, and we must act now. From health systems to food systems, coordination, finance, and accountability – we can do better. Adopting a pro-equity agenda is vital to improve nutrition outcomes and ensure no one is left behind.

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Acronyms and abbreviations

A list of the acronyms and abbreviations we have used across the report

Shareable definitions of the terms we have used across the report

Endorsements, acknowledgements and suggested citation

Endorsements of the report, thanks to those involved in creating it and a suggestion for how to cite it

Dataset and metadata

The data, metadata and technical note used for the 2020 Global Nutrition Report

appendix one

Appendix 1: Nutrition indicators

The indicators the 2020 Global Nutrition Report uses to track progress on malnutrition

appendix two

Appendix 2: Assessing progress against the global nutrition targets

How the 2020 Global Nutrition Report tracks global and country progress against the global nutrition targets using the latest available data

appendix three

Appendix 3: Countries on track for the 2025 global nutrition targets

The 2020 Global Nutrition Report's assessment of country-level progress towards eight of the ten 2025 global nutrition targets

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Addressing stunting and malnutrition should go beyond nutrition month celebration.

A health worker measures the circumference of a child's upper arm using a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) tape to determine the child's nutrition status. The pointer of the tape is in the red figures range, which means that the child is thin for their height.

MANILA, 29 July 2020 – UNICEF Philippines lauds the National Nutrition Council (NNC) and the Department of Health (DOH) for a successful run of this year’s Nutrition Month in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. UNICEF calls on the Government, policymakers, and the public to work together towards robust health and nutrition services for children in the Philippines. The themes “Batang Pinoy, Sana Tall… Iwas Stunting, Sama All!” and “Iwas ALL din sa COVID-19” raised awareness improving resilience against COVID-19 while minimizing the long-term effects of malnutrition.

“The 46th Nutrition Month encouraged Filipino families and communities to protect their children’s right to proper nutrition and good health,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said. “Beyond Nutrition Month, we look forward to continuously working with NNC, DOH, and other partners to address malnutrition for the betterment of our children’s future and the achievement of their full potential.”

Stunting is defined as impaired growth and development experienced due to poor nutrition. Children who are stunted are too short for their age. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), childhood stunting is “one of the most significant impediments to human development, globally affecting approximately 162 million children under the age of 5 years. It is largely an irreversible outcome of inadequate nutrition and repeated bouts of infection during the first 1000 days of a child’s life.”  Children who are stunted do less well at school and earn lower wages as adults.

In the Philippines, a third of children are stunted. the Philippines ranks fifth among countries in the East Asia and Pacific Region with the highest stunting prevalence and one of 10 countries with the highest number of stunted children in the world. In the last 15 years, little progress has been made to reduce stunting in the country despite good economic growth and increased health budgets.

The WHO estimates that by 2025, about 127 million children under five years old will be stunted assuming that current trends continue. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a possibility that more children will be stunted if there are no mitigating measures put in place.

UNICEF supported Nutrition Month activities, particularly the conduct of the First 1000 Days Webinar Series with NNC, DOH, and Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD). The webinar called on all sectors of society – from National and Local Government, NGOS and CSOs, Development Partners and UN, Academe, to Private Sector and Professional Organizations – to scale up and deliver critical interventions during the First 1000 days of a child's life. After the warm reception of the webinar series in Luzon and Visayas on July 23 and July 27, participants from Mindanao will also able to take part on August 4.

Key legislations enacted by Congress that promote and protect children’s nutrition include Republic Act (RA) 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act RA 10028 of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act, RA 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, and Executive Order 51 or the Philippine Milk Code. Among the other milestones related to the reduction of stunting and malnutrition in the country is the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2017-2022 that provides the framework to address malnutrition, including stunting, and its underlying factors.

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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in the Philippines, visit www.unicef.ph .

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More to explore.

DOH, UN Sign Agreement to Address Malnutrition in the Philippines

Employers need to do more to support breastfeeding women in the workplace – UNICEF, ILO

KOICA-UNICEF partnership key in improving children’s health amid pandemic and typhoons

Breastfeeding Your Baby in the First 1,000 Days

Guide to feeding your baby the right way for a healthy start to life

It's Time to Celebrate Nutrition! 🧨

Nutritious diets play a key role in helping individuals stay healthy throughout their lives. However, as the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health highlighted, millions of Americans face hurdles when it comes to accessing healthy food — and far too many are at risk of experiencing diet-related diseases. To address this issue of growing concern, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a goal to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

This goal is embedded in all aspects of our work at ODPHP. Whether it’s the Dietary Guidelines for Americans , the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the Healthy People initiative, MyHealthfinder, or the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, encouraging Americans to lead healthy and active lives is what we do. In March, we’re highlighting the important role nutrition plays in health and well-being.

Join us as ODPHP celebrates and honors the role nutrition plays in our lives. Led annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the month of March is recognized as National Nutrition Month. ® This year's theme is “ Beyond the Table ,” which addresses “the farm-to-fork aspect of nutrition, from food production and distribution to navigating grocery stores and farmers markets — and even home food safety and storage practices. It also describes the various ways we eat — not only around a dinner table, but also on the go, in schools and restaurants, at games and events. This theme also includes sustainability, for instance, decreasing food waste from school and work to home and beyond.”

Over the course of the month, you’ll hear from ODPHP as we add commentary on topics related to the weekly themes that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is emphasizing. We’ll also be sharing information and resources from our programs that consumers and professionals can use to learn more about the connection between nutrition and health — and explore healthy eating recommendations included in the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans .

Stay in the loop with ODPHP’s National Nutrition Month® activities by following us on X ( @HealthGov and @FitnessGov ), Facebook and LinkedIn . And follow the conversation with the hashtag #NationalNutritionMonth.    

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.

Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by ODPHP or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.

You will be subject to the destination website's privacy policy when you follow the link.

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Causal relationship of interleukin-6 and its receptor on sarcopenia traits using mendelian randomization

Previous research has extensively examined the role of interleukin 6 (IL-6) in sarcopenia. However, the presence of a causal relationship between IL-6, its receptor (IL-6R), and sarcopenia remains unclear.

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Correction: Dietary intake and gastrointestinal symptoms are altered in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: the relative contribution of autism-linked traits

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Traditional japanese diet score and the sustainable development goals by a global comparative ecological study

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Association between dietary magnesium intake and muscle mass among hypertensive population: evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

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Adult dietary patterns with increased bean consumption are associated with greater overall shortfall nutrient intakes, lower added sugar, improved weight-related outcomes and better diet quality

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Associations of dietary patterns and longitudinal brain-volume change in Japanese community-dwelling adults: results from the national institute for longevity sciences-longitudinal study of aging

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Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and vitamin D dietary supplementation and risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among adults with hypertension

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Effect of soy isoflavone supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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Metabolic syndrome risk in adult coffee drinkers with the rs301 variant of the LPL gene

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Circulating concentrations of bile acids and prevalent chronic kidney disease among newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: a cross-sectional study

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Dietary intake and gastrointestinal symptoms are altered in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: the relative contribution of autism-linked traits

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The Correction to this article has been published in Nutrition Journal 2024 23 :40

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Correction: Associations Between Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Risks of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Mortality – A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Nutrition Journal

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essay about nutrition month 2020

National Nutrition Month 2020: An Analysis of India’s Nutritional Status

In 1903 Thomas Edison was concerned about the healthcare of his time and stated: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

It’s been more than a century since Edison said this, but it seems like the world has taken a long time to realise the essence of those words. Nutrition and dietary plans have taken a front seat in the healthcare routine of individuals all across the globe. In accordance with this, India celebrates the first week of September as National Nutrition Week and dedicates the entire month for Nutrition related campaigns and activities. However, the country has grave concerns to address when it comes to nutrition!

The annual nutrition event organised by the Food and Nutrition Board within the Ministry of Women and Child Development highlights the importance and role of the right nutrition for the human body and why it is important to have a balanced diet with a combination of essential nutrients. The main objective of this is to evaluate and educate people all across the country. This, in turn, helps in identifying and resolving many health issues that occur due to dietary negligence.

In addition to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann ki Baat session said that the entire month of September will be observed as ‘ Poshan Maah’ i.e. ‘Nutrition month’ even amidst the pandemic. He recalled the maxim – “ Yatha Annam Tatha Mannam, ” which means that mental and intellectual development is directly related to the quality of our food intake. Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the nutritional status of the nation in detail.

India is one of the world’s largest producers of milk & pulses and ranks as the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruits, and cotton, as per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Despite the status, 14 per cent of India’s population is undernourished, according to ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2020’ report .

The report states 189.2 million people are undernourished in India and  34.7 per cent of the children aged under five in India are stunted. It further reports that 20 per cent of India’s children under the age of 5 suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height.

essay about nutrition month 2020

In fact, India is home to the most number of malnourished children all across the world. We get a clear picture of this when we compare the nutritional status of India in National Family Health Survey 2015-2016 to the previous edition of the survey, the percentage of children who are anaemic has come down from 69.4 per cent in the country, but it still stands at 58.6 per cent. The level of children under 5 years who are severely wasted has increased from 6.4 per cent to 7.5 per cent, and child stunting which was previously marked as 48 per cent stands at a soaring 38.4 per cent even today!

In the country, 35 percent of malnourished children are below the age of five years. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have the highest number of malnourished children, followed by Jharkhand, Meghalaya, and Madhya Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh, 42 percent of children under the age of five are malnourished, while in Bihar it is 48.3 percent. Although, the situation is better in states like Kerala, Goa, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, and Mizoram. 

essay about nutrition month 2020

In addition to all this, as per Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2019 , India has been ranked 102 out of the qualifying 117 countries that were assessed. The Global Hunger Index comprehensively tracks and measures hunger across the world and India’s rating in the 2019 year has been poor with a score of 30.3 which according to their guidelines, falls in the ‘serious’ category. However, neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh have secured a better rank than India. While Nepal is ranked 73, Bangladesh and Pakistan are ranked 88 and 94 respectively.

The data certainly shows that malnutrition is indeed one of the most underrated problems faced by the country. Over the course of time, various governments have initiated several large scale supplementary feeding programmes aimed at overcoming specific deficiency diseases to combat malnutrition. This includes programmes such as the distribution of prophylaxis against nutritional anaemia, Special Nutrition Programme, Balwadi Nutrition Programme, ICDS programme, and Mid-day meal programmes. Even though most of these programmes which are aimed at children, lactating mothers, pregnant women, and women in reproductive age groups have brought in results, it’s large scale implementation is still a distant dream for the nation!

The crisis brought about by the pandemic has further worsened the nutritional status of the country and India’s poor and hungry are being affected the most. Children are not getting their share of mid-day meal from the schools as every educational institution in the country has been closed. Further, the Supplementary Nutrition for ICDS projects in rural areas through Anganwadi Centres has also been disrupted to a great extent.

essay about nutrition month 2020

A study published in the Journal of Global Health Science on July 16 had estimated that the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus-led pandemic could contribute to food shocks, which in turn, could increase the chances of malnutrition. The study accounted that over 5 million children are at risk of falling in the wasting category of malnourishment, while an additional 2 million children are at risk of being pushed into the severe wasting category.

The nation will have to pay a huge price if it doesn’t initiate timely measures to overcome this crisis. Improving the nutritional status of its citizens is imperative for a nation in its road to development. The recent initiative by the Centre, named as ‘Poshan Abhiyaan 2018-22’ has set goals to reduce child under-nutrition (stunting and underweight) and low birth weight by 2 per cent a year, and anaemia across age groups by 3 per cent, and create a mass movement for good nutrition in the country. The scheme which looks good on papers needs a collective effort from the government, concerned authorities, and the citizens for bringing out the desired results.

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Kishan Shob

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THE FILIPINO SCRIBE

Nutrition Month Theme 2023: “Healthy diet, gawing affordable for all!”

  • Mark Pere Madrona
  • April 21, 2023
  • Department of Education , education

Nutrition Month Theme 2023: “Healthy diet, gawing affordable for all!”

Schools across the country will be celebrating the annual National Nutrition Month or “Buwan ng Nutrisyon” this coming July. In connection with this, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) has announced that the theme for this year’s celebration is “Healthy diet gawing affordable for all!”

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page , the NNC explained that this theme highlights “the need to support efforts that will enable Filipinos to have greater access to healthy, safe, and affordable food.” The agency added that this year’s nutrition month serves as a call to action for policy-makers, program managers, and legislators to act on the following issues:

1) Increase availability of nutritious foods such as by giving subsidies, product reformulation and improved food value chains,

2) Reduce the availability of unhealthy food through taxation, restrictions on marketing and consumer education,

3) Rechannel resources to agriculture to enable access to affordable nutritious and safe food,

4) Implement the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2023-2028 by scaling up food and nutrition security interventions.

The national nutrition month is celebrated every July as stipulated in Presidential Decree 491, which also mandated the creation of NNC in 1974. It must be noted that during that time, then-President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. had both executive and legislative powers.

The Department of Education is expected to release an official memorandum in the coming days or weeks pertaining to this. This post will be updated if and when that has been published.  Typically, schools organize various activities and events connected to the nutrition month including essay writing, jingle-making, as well as slogan-making contests.

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IMAGES

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  17. nutrition-month-2020-essay-tagalog.pdf

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