According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the quality of any individual’s everyday life is a crucial indicator of health status. Over the past decade, considerable effort has been dedicated to the measurement of health status as a result of public health and clinical indicators (Kessler, 2013, 1). Health status of a person is basically an outcome of a person’s lifestyle, which comprises the health behaviors and is also compared with the health-related quality of life (HRQL). HRQL to a larger extent refers to an individual’s view of physical and psychological health status over a long period of time (Cockerham, 2011, 53). Therefore, knowing a person’s health status provides the health care providers with vital information about the effect of lifestyle, health behaviors and general care on increasing the quality of life.
Generally, tracking the health status in a diverse population can assist in identifying the groups who have poor physical or psychological health. For instance, a group of adults who have a tendency to report poor physical and psychological health status are those with low income (Trovato, 2012, 1). Regrettably, adults who have a low income have a tendency to be underserved. The underserved comprise of those who are not insured, underinsured or those who cannot be insured and have trouble finding access to medical care (Kessler, 2013, 1).
Typically, the body utilizes nutrients for development, upkeep, and repair and requires to take in about 40 different nutrients in order to function well. Nutrients can generally be grouped into six classifications: protein, carbohydrate, lipid (fat), vitamins, water and minerals (Walters et.al, 2016, 1). These six nutrients are then categorized according to their size and energy. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are macronutrients since they make up the majority of my diet. On the other hand, vitamins and minerals are micronutrients since they are only needed in smaller quantities. For instance, as an individual I ingest about 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of food and water in a single day, however, I am well aware that only an eighth of that teaspoon is vitamins and minerals. Notably, this does not entirely mean that vitamins and minerals are not important.
It is normally said, “The start key is only a slight part of a vehicle, but it is hard to get the car started without it”. Therefore, a shortage in B12, or just a single of the eight B vitamins, the end result will be anemia, sensitive skin, and waning of peripheral nerves ensuing in paralysis minerals (Stabler, 2013, 1). In addition, one might have noticed the exclusion of water as an important macronutrient. Individuals certainly need a large quantity of water; nevertheless, water is a micronutrient since it does not have energy.
Food energy is mainly measured in calories. A calorie is generally the quantity of energy required to increase the heat of a single kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. When deliberating about nutrition and exercise, though, a calorie typically means kilocalorie, 1,000 calories, or the quantity of energy required to raise the heat of one liter of water by a single degree Celsius.
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating provides dietary patterns that are recommended in order to get sufficient of the nutrients vital for good health and also aid in reducing risk of chronic health complications such as, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some cancers (Australian government, 2013, 6). Importantly, a person will feel better, enjoy life, look better and live longer. So, by using this guide, I was able to assess my own nutrition/lifestyle habits.
With the food diary that I had come up with, I was able to estimate my daily and average intakes of energy in kJ and/or macro- or micronutrients. Generally, energy might not be regarded as a nutrient but it is needed in the body particularly for metabolic processes, physical functions, muscular activity, heat generation, development and synthesis of fresh tissues (NHMRC, 2007, 23). Energy is basically released from food constituents through the process of oxidation. The major sources of energy are proteins, carbohydrates, fats and, to a smaller degree, alcohol.
Importantly, humans require energy especially for basal metabolism which includes a set of functions essential for life such as, synthesis and breakdown of enzymes and hormones, cell breakdown, transport of materials around the body, upkeep of body temperature and continuing functioning of muscles as well as the heart, and brain function (NHMRC, 2007, 23).
Normally, human beings undertake a number of physical exercises as well as the compulsory demands of a person’s financial, social and cultural setting (e.g. schoolwork, occupational, and housework) or other discretionary activities (for instance, the energy used for non-compulsory exercise or sport, or in extra social or cultural interactions). For my part, I was able to take physical walks every single day to and from school. This served as part of my compulsory demand.
Owing to the fact that, one unit of energy is a kilojoule (kJ) or mega joule (1 MJ = 1,000 kJ) 4.18 kilojoules are equivalent to 1 kilocalorie, I was able to estimate my daily average intakes of energy (ABS, 1998, 2). During my estimations, I realized that the intestinal absorption and particularly for the nitrogenous part of proteins cannot be totally oxidized, the average quantity of energy released varies from roughly 16.7 kJ/g for proteins and carbohydrates or 37.7 kJ/g for fats and 29.3 kJ/g for alcohol (ABS, 1998, 2). I therefore, used this statistics for my food diary.
Taking a quick look at my food diary and my nutrition or lifestyle assessment, I realized that I need more of:
- Vegetables and fruits, mostly greens, oranges and red vegetables, for example, carrots, capsicums and sweet potatoes, and also leafy vegetables such as, spinach, and beans like lentils.
- Grain foods (cereals), mostly wholegrain cereals such as, whole grains that are high on fiber, oats, pasta and wholegrain rice.
- Highly reduced fat milk, cheese selections and yoghurt.
I also realized that I need less of:
- Muffins, cakes, sweet biscuits, and muesli bars
- Cream and butter
- Fried hot chips, meat pies and sausage rolls
I have realized that what I ingest is highly determined with where I live and how cheap the foods are. However, it is evident that what fills me up may not be the best choices for my health. Compared to the rest of the Australian population, I have noted that the youth mainly chose to take foods that are high in fat since most of this foods are cheap. According to my food diary, my current nutrition lifestyle might lead to serious health problems. Australia is an advanced nation and most people have access to a wide-ranging diversity of cheap, nutritious foods. So, I will make my choices right.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1998. Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. National Nutrition Survey. Nutrient intakes and physical measurements. Australia. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Australian government, .2013. Eat for health Australian Dietary Guidelines summary. Retrieved on 26th January 2016 from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_131014.pdf
Cockerham, W.C.2011. Health Lifestyle Theory and the Convergence of Agency and Structure: Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol 46 (March): 51–67.
Kessler, A.T.2013. Influence of life style, health behavior, and health indices on the health status of underserved adults: Journal of the American Association of Nurse practitioners.
NHMRC, 2007. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia Including Recommended Dietary Intakes. Retrieved on 26th January 2016 from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n35.pdf
Stabler, S.P.2013. Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The New England Journal of Medicine; 368:149-160.
Trovato, G.M. 2012. Behavior, nutrition and lifestyle in a comprehensive health and disease paradigm: skills and knowledge for a predictive, preventive and personalized medicine: EPMA Journal 2012, 3:8.
Walters P. et.al, .2016. The six categories of nutrients: Journal excerpt from Christian Paths to Health and Wellness, Second Edition.