Assessment of Nutritional Status
To determine if an adequate amount of nutrients remains consumed, doctors ask about eating habits and diet and do a physical examination to assess the composition and function of the body.
The person’s height and weight remain checked, and their body mass index (BMI) remains calculated. The BMI stays obtained by dividing the weight (expressed in kilograms) by the height (in meters) square. Generally, a BMI between 19 and 24 is considered normal or healthy for both genders. In the United States and other developed countries, many people have a BMI greater than 24. Maintaining an appropriate weight is essential for physical and psychological health. Although the BMI is more reliable, a table with standardized height and weight values can remain used as a reference.
The body composition, including the percentage of body fat, is usually obtained by measuring the skin folds or by doing a bioelectrical impedance analysis. But, The most accurate ways to determine this percentage include the person’s underwater weight (hydrostatic weight) and a bone densitometry test. Still, these methods are not easy to use, can be expensive, and are not always readily available. Also, They remain mainly used in research.
The levels of many nutrients are measured in the blood and sometimes in the tissues. For example, the concentration of albumin, the main protein in the blood, can determine whether a person is protein-deficient. Levels of certain nutrients decrease when nutrition is not adequate.
Another important consideration is what percentage of the body is fat and muscle (body composition). Hydrostatic weighing, skinfold thickness, bioelectrical impedance analysis, and bone densitometry (DXA, or dual x-ray absorptiometry) can stand used to determine body composition.
The person stands weighed underwater in a small pool. Bones and muscles are denser than water, so people with a high percentage of lean tissue weigh more in water; On the other hand, those with a high percentage of fat weigh less. Although this method remains considered the most accurate, it requires special equipment, involves a considerable investment of time, and must remain performed by skilled personnel.
Body composition can be estimated by measuring the fat under the skin (fold thickness). The skinfold thickness remains calculated using a caliper in a crease taken from the posterior upper part of the left arm (crease over the triceps). A thickness of approximately 1.5 cm in men and 2.5 cm in women is considered normal. This value, along with the perimeter of the upper left arm, remains used to estimate the amount of skeletal muscle in the body (lean body mass).
Bioelectrical impedance analysis:
This test measures the resistance of body tissues to the flow of an undetectable low-voltage electrical current. Generally, the person stands barefoot on metal plates, and an electric current remains applied that rises through one foot and descends through the other. Body fat and bones have a much higher resistance to electrical current than muscle tissue. Measuring resistance to current allows doctors to estimate the percentage of fat in the body. This test does not last much more than 1 minute.
This diagnostic imaging procedure allows the precise determination of the amount of fat in the body and its body distribution. This test (DXA) uses shallow radiation doses and is safe. However, it is too expensive to use routinely.
Nutrients remain generally divided into two classes:
Macronutrients: Remain required daily in large quantities. Although, These include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, some minerals, and water.
Similarly, Required daily in amounts so small that they remain expressed in units ranging from the milligram (one-thousandth of a gram) to microgram (one-millionth of a gram). Although, Micronutrients include vitamins and certain minerals that allow the body to use macronutrients. But, These minerals remain called micro minerals or trace elements (and sometimes trace minerals) because the body only needs them in minimal amounts.
Likewise, Water remains needed in 1 mL for each calorie of energy expended or about 2.5 L per day. Water needs can remain met by the water naturally contained in many foods and by consuming fruit or vegetable juices, decaffeinated coffee or tea, and water. Alcoholic beverages, caffeinated coffee and tea, and soft drinks can make people urinate more, less valuable.
The foods consumed in the daily diet contain about 100,000 substances. However, only 300 remain classified as nutrients, and only 45 remain classified as essential nutrients:
- Some amino acids (components of proteins)
- Some fatty acids (components of fats)
- Essential nutrients cannot remain synthesized by the body and must remain consumed through the diet.
- Food contains many other valuable components, including some fibers (such as cellulose, pectins, and resins).
- Food also contains additives (such as preservatives, emulsifiers, antioxidants, and stabilizers) that enhance production, processing, storage, and packaging.
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