DIET AND NUTRITION
This chapter is concerned with the nutritional
requirements for the healthy person, and for the sick,
wounded, and convalescing patient. Research has
confirmed that good health depends in part upon the
availability of essential nutrients the body requires
throughout life. The well-nourished individual is
usually mentally alert, is at a maximum of physical
capability, and has a high resistance to disease. The
daily basic minimum nutritional requirements must be
met and often supplemented during periods of illness
to meet the changing needs of the body and its ability to
use foods. Therefore, the diet is an important factor in
the therapeutic plan for each patient.
The important role of nutrition in overall health is
widely recognized. As a member of the Navy, you must
be healthy to perform your professional duties. Part of
maintaining a healthy lifestyle starts with eating a
well-balanced diet and maintaining a good fitness
regimen. Many people in the Navy and Marine Corps do
not maintain a proper daily diet.
As a Hospital
Corpsman, you may be responsible for providing
nutritional counseling and, perhaps, even motivation.
You have an added responsibility to observe for
additional nutritional needs and omissions and to advise
your shipmates when necessary. If you stay healthy and
energetic, the knowledge and experience you share and
the example you set may help your shipmates adopt and
maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Balancing energy intake and expenditure can be
difficult, both when activity levels are high as well as
when they are very low. Typically, body weight remains
constant when energy intake equals expenditure (fig.
91). The energy balance equation can be unbalanced
by changing energy intake, energy expenditure, or both.
To gain or lose 1 pound requires that approximately 3,500
extra calories be consumed or burned.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the
components of good nutrition.
Foods are substances from animal and plant
sources that yield heat and energy when ingested and
absorbed by the body. Food nutrients build and renew
tissues and regulate the body processes. The unit
commonly used for describing energy intake and
energy expenditure is the calorie. Good food sources
contain substantial amounts of nutrients in relation to
caloric content and provide upwards of 10 percent of
the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance for each
specific nutrient. Most people can get enough of each
required nutrient daily by eating a wide variety of
Proteins are the building blocks of the body and
provide important required nutritive elements.
Proteins are needed for growth, maintenance, and
replacement of body cells, and they form hormones
and enzymes used to regulate body processes. Extra
protein is either used to supply energy or is changed
into body fat. Found in both the animal and plant
kingdoms, all proteins are composed of amino acids.
Some amino acids are absolutely essential to maintain
life and are necessary for repair, growth, and body
development. Of the approximately 20 amino acids,
Figure 91.Balancing energy intake.