Simultaneous Action on Two Overlapping Fronts

For these reasons, to promote healthy nutrition for all people it is necessary to take simultaneous action on two distinct, if overlapping, fronts. On the one hand, many less-favored nations remain handicapped by a formidable array of development constraints, including rapidly increasing population, unproductive agriculture, environmental degradation, limited health service coverage, and war and civil strife. Among the most visible—and tragic—consequences are the many millions of wasted and stunted children who do not have enough protein and energy in their diets, who suffer from cretinism and other permanent brain damage because their diets and those of their parents are deficient in iodine, or who go blind or even die for lack of vitamin A. It is in just such environments that diarrheal diseases resulting from contaminated food and water, frequently compounded by seasonal or chronic food shortages, take their heaviest toll in terms of malnutrition, ill health, and premature death.

On the other hand, there has been a significant drop in recent years in the prevalence of infectious disease, while food availability and the quality of diets have improved for populations the world over. The result in many countries has been a sharp reduction in infant and child mortality and longer adult life expectancy. These and related factors have paved the way for a dramatic expansion of a different type of nutrition crisis: Diet-related chronic disorders are now flourishing in environments where, not so long ago, infectious diseases were the greatest menace to health. Too often, one type of malnutrition is being exchanged, or—worse still—being superimposed upon another, with no net gain for human health in the process.

Labels such as 'rich' or 'poor' and 'developed' or 'developing,' by themselves, provide little insight into what causes malnutrition and how it can be overcome. The fact is, wherever people reside, it is the way they live, what they eat, and how they interact with their environment that determine their nutritional status. Healthy nutritional status is by no means the monopoly of rich countries, any more than malnutrition is somehow the prerogative of poor ones. Whatever the cultural influences at work in a given milieu, all governments are challenged to develop food and nutrition policies that will make healthy choices the easy choices for their populations. Consistent with the unique normative, scientific, and advisory role that WHO has played for the last half century, the organization strives to support all its 191 member states in doing just this.

See also: Aging. Anemia: Iron-Deficiency Anemia; Megaloblastic Anemia. Antioxidants: Intervention Studies. Appetite: Physiological and Neurobiological Aspects; Psychobiological and Behavioral Aspects. Bioavailability. Body Composition. Breast Feeding. Cancer: Epidemiology and Associations Between Diet and Cancer; Epidemiology of Gastrointestinal Cancers

Other Than Colorectal Cancers; Epidemiology of Lung Cancer; Effects on Nutritional Status. Carotenoids: Chemistry, Sources and Physiology; Epidemiology of Health Effects. Coronary Heart Disease: Hemostatic Factors; Lipid Theory; Prevention. Diabetes Mellitus: Etiology and Epidemiology; Classification and Chemical Pathology; Dietary Management. Diarrheal Diseases. Dietary Guidelines, International Perspectives. Energy: Balance. Energy Expenditure: Indirect Colorimetry. Food Fortification: Developed Countries; Developing Countries. Food Safety: Mycotoxins; Pesticides. Growth and Development, Physiological Aspects. Infants: Nutritional Requirements; Feeding Problems. Infection: Nutritional Interactions. Iodine: Physiology, Dietary Sources and Requirements; Deficiency Disorders. Iron. Lactation: Physiology; Dietary Requirements. Low Birthweight and Preterm Infants: Nutritional Management. Malnutrition: Primary, Causes Epidemiology and Prevention; Secondary, Diagnosis and Management. Nutrient Requirements, International Perspectives. Nutrition Policies In Developing and Developed Countries. Nutritional Assessment: Anthropometry; Biochemical Indices; Clinical Examination. Nutritional Surveillance: Developed Countries; Developing Countries. Obesity: Definition, Etiology and Assessment; Fat Distribution; Childhood Obesity; Prevention; Treatment. Protein: Synthesis and Turnover; Requirements and Role in Diet; Digestion and Bioavailability; Quality and Sources; Deficiency. United Nations Children's Fund. Vitamin A: Physiology.

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