Clinical dietitians and nutritionists provide medical nutrition therapy. Clinical dietitians work in the hospitals, as long-term care facilities, clinics, private practice, and other institutions. We create nutritional programs based on the health needs of patients or residents and counsel patients on how to lead a healthier lifestyle.
As adults grow older, they have a greater chance of developing certain diet-related diseases, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, cancer, and/or osteoporosis.
Obesity: The imbalance between declining energy expenditure due to physical inactivity and high energy in the diet (excess calories whether from sugar, starches or fat) is the main determinant of the obesity epidemic. Increasing physical activity, plus reducing intakes of foods high in fat and foods and drinks high in sugars, can prevent unhealthy weight gain. Taking these simple goals to concrete action requires major social and environmental changes in order to effectively promote and support healthier choices at the individual level.
Diabetes: Excess weight gain, overweight and obesity and physical inactivity account for the escalating rates of type 2 diabetes, worldwide. Diabetes leads to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and infections. Increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight play critical roles in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
Cardiovascular Diseases: Cardiovascular diseases, the major killers worldwide, are to a great extent due to unbalanced diets and physical inactivity. Risk of their main forms, heart disease and stroke, is reduced by eating less saturated and trans fats, and sufficient amounts of (n-3 and n-6) polyunsaturated fats, fruits and vegetables and less salt, as well as by physical activity and controlling weight. Reduction of salt intake helps reduce blood pressure, a major cause of cardiovascular diseases.
Cancer: Tobacco is the number one cause of cancer, but dietary factors contribute significantly to some types of cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the risk for cancers of the oesophagus, colorectum, breast, endometrium and kidney. Limiting alcohol intake will reduce risk for cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver and breast. Ensuring an adequate intake of fruit and vegetables should further reduce risk for oral cavity, oesophagus, stomach and colorectal cancer.
Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures: Fragility fractures are a problem of older people. Adequate intakes of calcium (500 mg per day or more) and of vitamin D in populations with high osteoporosis rates helps to reduce fracture risk, so does sun exposure and physical activity to strengthen bones and muscles.
Dental Disease: Caries is preventable by limiting the frequency and amount of consumption of sugars and by appropriate exposure to fluoride. Erosion of teeth by dietary acids in beverages or other acidic foods may contribute to tooth destruction.
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