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Nutrition and Health Project Addressing Hunger Issues

Basic Nutrients Needed for Healthy Diets

For a diet to be considered healthy, it must contain the basic nutrients which are divided into macro and micro nutrients. The macronutrients are the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats which are essential for effective body functioning. Carbohydrates comprise of the starches, sugars, and fibers that are the main sources of energy in the body. The primary sources of the carbohydrates are the naturally occurring foods such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, legumes, and milk. Also, sugars that are added to food during the processing are good sources of the macronutrient. Carbohydrates should provide 55-60% of the calories required in the body. Proteins comprise of amino acids and are required for the proper function, structure, and regulation of body tissues and organs. Sources of the proteins are the animal products such as eggs, fish, meat, poultry, and milk and dairy products. Other sources include legumes and seeds such as dried peas, beans, and nuts. Finally, the other macronutrient required for a healthy diet is fat that is categorized into two, i.e. the saturated and unsaturated fats. Fats are sources of energy and are required for absorption of some vitamins such as the fat-soluble vitamins.

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Vitamins, minerals, and water are the other important nutrients that are needed for optimal body functioning. The vitamins regulate chemical reactions in the body and must be obtained from the diet while minerals are components required to help the body carry out the different functions such as ensuring healthy bones, and for proper fluid balance. On the other hand, water is needed for digestion processes, control of body temperature, and cell functions.

Nutritional Challenges Bolivia Faces

The nutritional challenges Bolivia faces are due to the lack of food and money. Most of the population lives in the rural areas and practices substance farming. Due to the erratic climate, the people do not get enough food for their home consumption and have no reliable source of income to purchase food. For example, a census carried out in 2001 found out that 64% of the population did not have enough income to meet the basic needs.

Hunger and Infections

Bolivians suffer from intestinal infections. Contaminated water and food cause most of the diseases. The infections are correlated to the high poverty levels. A case in point, hunger has been found to lead to non-communicable diseases. These include deficiencies caused by non-daily intake of vegetables and fruits (Romo, 2016). In relation to various practices, it is important to note that Bolivians do not have homogenous culture. There is a significant influence on many ethnic communities. Some of the communities are found in other countries in South America. Therefore, if they migrate to the countries near them, they are likely to go through acculturation process and adopt new eating habits. Bolivians eating habits have been influenced by the poverty predicament rather than a traditional heritage. As a result, if the people migrated to America, their eating habits would change and adopt healthy dietary practices.

Prevention of Food-Borne Illnesses

In Bolivia, food-borne illnesses can be prevented by ensuring safety measures are taken to avoid contamination of water and food. This can be achieved through two major undertakings. First, is the use of biotechnology to ensure Bolivians access clean water and second, is through education.

Biotechnology

This will entail the use of modern and proven technologies to ensure mass sanitation of water. For instance, it will involve the use of bacteriophages in the detection of pathogens and biocontrol. Phages have increasingly become important in safety applications. The phages can be produced commercially and have shown high efficacy in control of pathogens related to food-borne diseases (Billington, Hudson, & D’Sa, 2014). For example, application of molecular approaches such as RNA snippets to purify water. The biocontrol processes are cheaper and efficient compared to the current water purifications technologies such as carbon filtration, ultraviolet irradiation, boiling among other common practices. Specifically, water will be purified through the use of nanosized beads to recover pathogens from water or nanocomposite packaging films to deliver targeted antimicrobial effect.

Education

The people will need education on food safety and hygiene. It should be aimed at changing behavioral practices that lead to the infections vulnerability. Simple practices such as food handling and preparation will be crucial for the population.

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Hunger Statistics

The prevalence of hunger in Bolivia is 25.2% in the rural areas while in urban dwellings, it is 14.2%. Besides, 59% of the population in the countryside cannot meet basic needs of food, and 63% are unable to provide the required caloric intake (World Food Programme, 2017). In comparison to the U.S., by 2015, 13.1% of Americans were food insecure. The households that had very low food insecurity were 5% (Feeding America, 2017).

Public Health Programs

One of the major public health programs in Bolivia is the Country Program by the World Food Program. The primary goal of the program is to strengthen nutrition interventions for the populations that are more insecure. It is a multi-approach program which promotes diversified food production. The diversification aims at ensuring that there are technologically proven processes that ensure efficient production of foods rather than relying on traditional practices that in most cases have not yielded positive results. However, it is important to note that the processes can lead to environmental consequences such as the extinction of native plants and animals that in most cases are being replaced with exotic breeds. Also, the over mechanization may result in environmental pollution.

References

Billington, C., Hudson, J. A., & D’Sa, E. (2014). Prevention of bacterial foodborne disease using nanobiotechnology. Nanotechnology, Science and Applications, 7(1), 73-83.

Feeding America. (2017). Hunger and poverty facts and statistics. Web.

Romo, M. L. (2016). Hunger and behavioral risk factors for noncommunicable diseases in school-going adolescents in Bolivia. Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 13(54), 1-6.

World Food Programme. (2017). The Plurinational State of Bolivia: Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing. Web.

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