Necessary Nutrients

The WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development is responsible for formulating dietary and nutritional guidelines for international use. Adequate total nutrition includes the following nutrients: protein, energy (calories), vitamin A and carotene, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, folate, vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and iodine. Most important are protein and the caloric/energy requirement needed to utilize protein. If these elements are inadequate, the result is a protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), or protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM), which affects one in every four children worldwide, with the highest concentration in Asia. Chronic deficiencies of protein and calories result in a condition called marasmus, while a diet high in carbohydrates but low in protein causes a condition called kwashiorkor.

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