Nutrition is a concept that examines the relationship between what a person eats and their health. Nutrition is important because the body gets most of its nutrients from the foods that are eaten. A pattern of eating a healthy balance of foods from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food pyramid helps a person lower the chances of developing long term illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer. Also, people who already have an illness may be able to control some of their symptoms by following good nutritional guidelines. A nutrition questionnaire is a series of questions that helps to determine what a person usually eats.
A nutritionist or other healthcare provider may use the questions on a nutrition questionnaire to evaluate the quality of the individual's diet and/or lifestyle. Questions about diet, exercise, and medical history may be included on a health questionnaire. In some cases, a healthcare provider, translator, or family member may read the questionnaire to the patient and ask the patient a series of additional questions. In other cases, the patient may fill out the questionnaire by him or herself or with the help of a family member or translator. Based on this information, the healthcare provider may tell the individual what foods a person should continue to eat and which foods may need to be consumed less often.
In recent years, experts have seen an increasingly strong connection between eating foods with good nutrition and remaining healthy. Ideas of what foods are healthy and in what amounts they should be eaten may change. Most recently the FDA created a new revised food pyramid in 2005.
Some people may be asked to answer the questions on a nutritional questionnaire when they visit a new doctor. In other cases, people who have been diagnosed with an illness, syndrome, or who have recently become pregnant may fill out a nutritional questionnaire when visiting a nutritionist. A nutritionist is a healthcare professional who helps a person understand what foods should be eaten to stay healthy and which foods should be eaten less frequently. People may visit a nutritionist because of a specific health problem, to determine food allergies, to gain weight, to lose weight, or to make sure they are getting all of the nourishment and vitamins they need for their particular lifestyle.
According to The American Dietetic Association (ADA), medical nutrition therapy and lifestyle counseling are integral components of medical treatment for the management of selected conditions. Numerous chronic medical conditions respond to medical nutrition therapy; however, pharmacotherapy may be needed to achieve control. In some cases, medical nutrition therapy and pharmacotherapy may need to be initiated simultaneously. Medical nutrition therapy is critical to the management of a variety of chronic diseases, effective in managing disease, and cost-effective. Strong evidence advocating certain types of medical nutrition therapy lies in the extremely high usage of parenteral and enteral nutritional formulas in many health care settings today. Parenteral feedings may allow people who are not able to consume any food orally to get the nutrients that they need to survive.
Promising uses of medical nutrition therapy for the future reside in a vast array of conditions, such as supplying proper nutrients to people with HIV/AIDS and cancer or possibly helping to decrease the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
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