Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 41, Issue 5
No illness which can be treated by diet should be treated by any other means (Maimonides, twelfth century physician).
Yet all too often this basic principle is forgotten in today treatments of conditions.
This special edition focuses on special diets for management of health problems. It includes a wide range of papers from a truly global author base:
The first paper in the issue focuses on assessing the nutritional status of radiological technicians, which fascinated me as dealing with the diagnosis of conditions related to a poor diet seemed to have little impact on the consideration of their own diet.
“Functional foods: an empirical study” demonstrates how the purchasing behaviours for these products of “Phoods” is based on various expectations as regards the health benefits.
Heartburn in the Sri Lankan community is a novel paper which looks at a common problem, often called indigestion, and which surveys say around 40 per cent of the population suffer from at times. It is an unpleasant condition and one where diet can help.
“Dietary approaches for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)” which is an unpleasant condition which affects around 10 per cent of women. The weight gain, skin condition and fertility problems are very distressing to sufferers. Having worked with women with PCOS I know the assistance dietary modifications can have. Sadly, all too often this is not realised by not only sufferers but health professionals. This paper provides excellent information with a list of comprehensive references plus a useful figure, which summarises the different types of dietary approaches and the pros and cons of them.
Assessing malnutrition among chemo and/or radiotherapy cancer patients shows that almost all of the individuals needed some degree of nutritional intervention. Consideration of nutrition in this group can have a major effect on the outcome.
“Nutrient intake and health status of HIV/AIDS patients” identifies the higher nutritional requirements of these individuals and the difficulties encountered in meeting them.
“Baby boomers’ desires for future health and food service” puts an interesting perspective on the expectations for the future which are far greater than those demanded today by most of those in present day care services especially as regards foods which include low-cost fruit and vegetables, environmentally friendly foods as well as vitamins and herbal remedies.
Having looked at the impact of diet on health problems and also having covered the annual conference of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) it seems appropriate to discuss standards on nutrition for hospital and care settings, which are being updated by a specialist group of the BDA.
The standards are called the “Delivering nutritional care through food and beverage services” and have been developed as a toolkit, which is essential for anyone involved in any aspect of food provision in the care setting. They include a full consideration of all dimensions of food service from purchasing to how to calculate the nutritional content of the meals as well as codes to specify different meals for specialist groups who need therapeutic diets. Also the required nutrient content of the meals is detailed. This toolkit is now being revised to ensure it remains up to date and appropriate to present day food service.
Various representatives from other key groups involved in delivering and producing meals have also been involved in the project to ensure that the standards are widely taken up.