Identify the Components of a Balanced Diet

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Date Submitted: 09/26/2012 03:47 AM

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The Impact of Diet on Health


It is important for workers in health and social care to understand the principles of nutrition, not only to help maintain the nutritional status of the people they care for but also to maintain good nutritional status themselves. The aim of the unit is to help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of nutrition.

How you will be assessed

This is an internally assessed unit. In this unit you will learn about: the dietary needs of individuals at different life stages the effects of unbalanced diets on the health of individuals specific dietary needs of patients/service users food safety and hygiene.


BTEC First Health and Social Care Level 2

Dietary needs of individuals at different life stages

It is important to recognise that people’s dietary needs change during their lifespan. A suitable balanced diet for a small child will not be suitable for an adult or older person, so needs must be taken into account when caring for different individuals.

Life stages

Infancy (0–3 years)

At birth, babies rely only on milk to meet their nutritional requirements. Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns because it contains nutrients for all the baby’s needs in the right amounts. Although it is low in iron and copper, the baby has enough of these stored until it starts eating solid foods. In addition, breast milk provides immunity and is clean, readily available and does not have to be prepared. Some mothers are either unable or choose not to breastfeed and use formula milk, which is modified cow’s milk. This must be made up to the right concentration to prevent damage to the immature kidneys. The equipment used must be sterilised to prevent infection. Weaning should not be done before about 4 months of age as doing it early may cause later obesity or allergies. Different foods can be introduced gradually such as cereals, then fruit and vegetables and egg yolk and finely minced meat. By about 12–18...