Optimal nutrition is one of the most important factors for overall health and wellbeing. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that a balanced diet, comprising a variety of nutrients, will help to prevent disease, reduce birth rates, and support physical growth and development. A well-balanced diet should include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and water. These foods provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that support growth and development, as well as protect against disease.
While some of the essential nutrients are easily obtained through food, others may require supplements or other sources. For instance, iron, which is an essential mineral, is necessary for the growth of a baby’s bones and brain. It is also needed for red blood cells to carry oxygen and for muscle metabolism. It is also required for the proper function of the central nervous system and the immune system. It promotes the growth of healthy connective tissues and muscles. It also aids in the transport of other compounds.
Essential nutrients are classified into micronutrients, which are needed in very small amounts, and macronutrients, which are consumed in larger quantities. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Proteins are found in meat, fish, milk, and eggs. Proteins are essential because they are used to build and repair tissues. They also provide the structural components of the body. They are composed of nine essential amino acids, which the body cannot make itself.
Essential nutrition is important for all stages of life. However, all in one nutrition the first 1000 days are a particularly crucial time for implementing nutrition actions. Research shows that a child who receives the right nutrition during this period is more likely to overcome childhood diseases, to be healthy, and to have a healthier family. The WHO released a report on nutrition that estimates that an investment in nutrition can save 3.7 million lives by 2025. In addition to preventing disease, proper nutrition can also promote the development of mental health and physical development in children.
To ensure that all children receive essential nutrition, the WHO is developing an essential nutrition action framework. This framework provides a blueprint for integrating nutrition interventions into national health policies and services. It also describes tools and resources that support implementation. This framework can be applied to infant and young child feeding, nutrition for women during pregnancy, and nutrition care of sick children.
The framework is based on WHO recommendations. The seven essential nutrition actions (ENAs) are focused on improving the quality of nutrition services in the first 1000 days of life. The ENAs include infant and young child feeding (IYCF), exclusive breastfeeding, nutritional care of sick children, complementary feeding, and nutrition for pregnant women. The ENAs are intended to reduce morbidity and mortality in children, and to improve the health of women and children.
These seven actions are aimed at increasing access to lifesaving nutrition practices for children. However, many children are not receiving essential nutrition interventions. In fact, in the Amhara region, stunting is a very common condition, and sub-optimal IYCF practices have been associated with an increase in morbidity and mortality for infants and children.