How Nutritional Assessments Help Treatment
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluations at J. Flowers Health Institute
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What is a Nutritional Assessment?
Table of Contents
What is Malnutrition?
Where and How is a Nutritional Assessment Performed?
What is Tested?
The first step in an anthropomorphic assessment is usually to measure an individual's weight, which is strongly related to their health status. Losing weight unintentionally can be an indicator of poor health and an inability of the body to fight off infection. Weight gain can be indicative of poor nutritional practices or a side effect of a medication they might be taking. Having a low pre-pregnancy weight and inadequate weight gain during pregnancies are indicators of growth problems and potential low birth weight for babies.1
Weight is measured using a scale. Newborns are weighed using balance beam scales or digital scales and are thought to have a low birth weight if they are less than 2,500g.1 A low birth weight puts babies at higher risk of physical and cognitive problems and nutrition-related chronic diseases.1 While all babies lose weight immediately after birth, if they have not regained the weight within their first week of life, they are at risk of further complications.1
By five months most babies are expected to have doubled their birth weight. Forbabies under the age of six months, the anthropomorphic measures include weight-for-length, weight-for-age, and head circumference.1 The reason that babies are weighed so frequently after birth is that weight is an excellent indicator of nutritional health in infants.
Adults and infants alike are measured with measuring tapes. An individual's height is not particularly indicative of their health on its own, however, combined with their weight can tell a lot about their particular health in terms of how much they weigh compared to how tall they are. In other words, taller people will typically weigh more than shorter people, so the proportions of the measurements have to be taken into consideration.
Weight-for-height (WHZ) is an index that is used the measure the nutritional health of infants up until the age of five.1 A WHZ index compares a child's weight to the weight of other children that are the same height and sex and have been identified in the WHO Child Growth Standards.1
Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC)
MUAC is the measurement of the circumference of the mid-upper arm at the mid-point between the tip of the shoulder and the tip of the elbow.1 A MUAC measuring tape is used, which shows millimeter measurements. MUAC assessments measure the nutrient reserves in muscle and fat.1 The MUAC assessment is measured independently to consider an individual's height or whether or not they are pregnant. MUAC assessments can also be used as an alternative to WHZ measurements, BMI for age measurements, or for those whose height and weight cannot be measured.1 MUAC should not be used for infants under six months and should not be used as a tool for people who have edema.1
A biochemical assessment looks at the levels of nutrients and chemicals present in the blood, urine, or stools.1
This testing is sent to a lab after which the results can be used by healthcare professionals to find information about the individual’s health, any medical problems they have, or any medical problems they might be at risk of. Tests also measure the function of vital organs such as kidneys and liver.3
Some examples of biochemical measurements include:3
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Food Group Questionnaire
Food Security Assessment
What Does the Assessment Identify?
What Type of Plan is Created by the Assessment?
What Does the Assessment Identify?
Alcohol Use Disorders and Malnutrition
Uncovering Unhealthy Eating Patterns
What is Nutritional Guidance?
What a Healthy Eating Pattern Includes
How Many Calories Should be Consumed in a Day?
How Can Nutritional Guidance Help with the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder?
Those who suffer from alcohol and substance use disorders are often malnourished. Substance abuse can affect nutritional status and body composition by resulting in inadequate nutrient intake, absorption, and changes to metabolism. Once the body is no longer receiving and absorbing nutrients correctly, a slew of health problems may appear.
How Effective is Nutritional Guidance?
- 80% for vegetables
- 80% for dairy
- 75% for fruit
- 70% for healthy oil
- 40% for healthy grains
- 40% for health protein
- 90% for sodium
- 60% for saturated fats
- 60% for refined sugar
The Need to Follow Nutritional Guidance
Guidelines for Physical Activity
- Children aged 6 to 17 should go at least one hour of physical activity a day, which should include aerobic exercises (high intensity three times a week), muscle-strengthening (three times a week), and bone-strengthening exercises (three times a week).4
- Adults aged 17 to 64 should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week.4
- Adults should strength-train at least two times a week, and 300 minutes of exercise would be recommended for the best health results.4
- Adults over the age of 65 should be as physical as possible while trying to maintain 150 minutes of activity a week.1
Do People Follow Physical Activity Guidelines?
- 30% for ages 18-24
- 20% for ages 25-44
- 20% for ages 45 to 54
- 10-15% for ages 65 to 74
- 10% for ages 75 to 84
- 5% for ages 85 and older