This part is concerned with the nutritional requirements for the healthy person, and for the sick, wounded, and convalescing patient. Research has confirmed that good health depends in part upon the availability of essential nutrients the body requires throughout life. The well-nourished individual is usually mentally alert, is at a maximum of physical capability, and has a high resistance to disease. The daily basic minimum nutritional requirements must be met and often supplemented during periods of illness to meet the changing needs of the body and its ability to use foods. Therefore, the diet is an important factor in the therapeutic plan for each patient.
The important role of nutrition in overall health is widely recognized. As a member of the healthcare system, you must be healthy to perform your professional duties. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle starts with eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining a good fitness regimen. Many people do not maintain a proper daily diet. As a medical technician, you may be responsible for providing nutritional counseling and, perhaps, even motivation.
Balancing energy intake and expenditure can be difficult, both when activity levels are high as well as when they are very low. Typically, body weight remains constant when energy intake equals expenditure. (fig 8-1) The energy balance equation can be “unbalanced” by changing energy intake, energy expenditure, or both. To gain or lose 1 pound requires that approximately 3,500 extra calories be consumed or burned.
Figure 9–1.—Balancing energy intake.