Understanding Nutrition

Posted: November 28th, 2013

Understanding Nutrition

1. Describe the normal events of fetal development. How does malnutrition impair fetal development? (Text) 

Fetal development can be described as the gradual growth of a fetus. It is mainly characterized by three main stages: the zygote, the embryo and the fetus. The zygote is described as the result of the fusion between the sperm and the ova. Thus, a zygote is simply a fertilized ovum. The zygote moves to the uterine wall for a process known as implantation. Implantation is the process where the zygote attaches itself to the uterine wall for getting nourishment (Whitney and Rofles. 2011).

The point of attachment, which later develops into the umbilical cord, enables easy and safe movement of nourishment for the developing zygote to develop into a full-grown embryo. At this stage, which is usually approximately 8weeks after conception, the embryo starts to develop the vital organs of the human body such as the heart, spinal cord, limbs, and a digestive system. This is one of the main stages of development of an embryo to become a fetus. The fetus can be described as an almost fully developed infant. At this stage, the fetus grows at rapid speeds attaining considerable size and weight. It begins after the embryo fully develops the vital organs, from two months until the ninth month (Whitney and Rofles. 2011)

Malnutrition has devastating effects. The lack of vitamins in the mother results in disorders such as spina bifida and anencephaly, which are because of the neural tube failing to close up completely, thus affecting the development of the central nervous system. Spina bifida is whereby the spinal cord and its bony case fail to close completely. Anencephaly on the other is a very deadly disease and is characterized by the upper end of the neural tube failing to close up, thus the brain fails to develop or is entirely missing(Whitney and Rofles 2011).. This can however, be countered by intake of high folate supplements months before birth. Chronic diseases may arise due to poor dieting during pregnancy, to result in alteration of normal functioning of the infant’s bodily metabolism leading to deficiencies that leave the infant prone to contract chronic diseases. Lack of vital vitamins that aid in development of vital organs such as pancreas, which may result to diabetes later in life.

2. Compare and contrast major differences in nutrient content of breast milk and cow’s milk.

Breast milk has a balanced check of vital nutrients and very high bioavailability of these nutrients, unlike cow milk, which has high levels of some nutrients and lower levels of other nutrients. Breast milk has the proper composition of hormones meant for healthy psychological development of a baby in contrast to cow milk, which is unbalanced in hormone levels because it is not meant for consumption by an infant. Breast milk facilitates cognitive development of an infant due to the different chemicals and hormones secreted by the mother via the breast to enable child development unlike cow milk, which has a very different chemical composition.

Cow milk is not pasteurized, therefore making it a risk for transferring infections that might be fatal to a baby’s health, whereas breast milk has antibodies in abundance to aid in fighting of potential infections inside the baby who does not have the mechanisms to produce adequate antibodies to fight against infections that keep on recurring.

Cow milk is considered acidic in comparison to breast milk, thus this makes it a health risk for the baby if consumed. Cow milk also has a different butter fat content and protein level that the baby might not be able to digest, when compared to breast milk, which has a lower level of protein, and butter fat content.

3. List six (6) nutrition problems associated with drug abuse and tobacco use in adolescent

Tobacco use may lead to addiction and can even develop addictions to other substances, which are dangerous. Tobacco when smoked, releases it contents, such as tar, which accumulates in vital organs in the body thus restricting blood flow in the body. Without blood flowing to all parts of the body, thus the affected organs do not have access to nutrients and oxygen. This inevitably leads to drastic loss in weight.

Drugs and tobacco use lead to dependencies on the drugs that create a lack of appetite, which characterizes most of the drug users. Drugs due to their high toxicity lead to liver failure because the liver is not able to break down such substances. After such processes, the liver is left frail, and it becomes easy to suffer from diseases such as liver cirrhosis that are associated with alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction also causes obesity due to the high intake of carbohydrates, which are usually found in the beer making products. Alcohol has a high acid content; this makes it risky for the gut and may cause inflammations in the whole gut after continuous use over long periods, leading to low absorption of proteins.

Drug abuse is usually associated with high levels of stress. Stress coupled with substance use, cause imbalances in the general functioning of the body, coupled with substance use. Combined they have devastating effects on the body, such as low appetite which cause loss of weight, high acidity which can cause low levels of absorption of food, thus the body is deprived off its vital needs(Whitney and Rofler 2011). Alcohol causes a lot of dehydration to the body. This is because alcohol when absorbed into the body cannot be fully broken down by the liver, this make the body excrete more, in order to remove the high salt levels in the body.

4. List the factors that increase the risk for B12 and iron deficiency in older adults.
The main reason for deficiency in B12 and iron is brought about by lack of protein in their diets. It can be because their ages restrict movement, thus they cannot be able to access stores to purchase foods with proteins. Another factor may be due to lack of adequate finances to provide themselves with the required levels of proteins in their meals. Vitamins B12 and Iron are mainly found in red meat. Due to their ages, they tend to have harder times digesting meat, this tendency develops into disliking meat. Thus, they detach themselves from the main source Vitamins B12 and Iron.

As people grow older, they develop a resistance in absorbing the VitaminsB12 and Iron. There are intestinal anomalies resulting in less absorption of many nutrients in the gut. Older people tend to have many ailments, and in the course of treating such ailments, they reduce their ability to absorb Vitamins B12 and Iron due to hormonal imbalance, which can be attributed to the after effects of the drugs. Some older people who have carried drinking habits for long periods may have damaged their guts due to the high acidity of alcohol.







Whitney, E. N., and Rolfes, S. R. (2011). Understanding nutrition. Australia: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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