An adequate diet should contain liberal amounts of protein-rich and protective foods and should supply all the dietary essentials in the required amounts. Dietary surveys carried out in western countries have shown that the diets contain large amounts of protein-rich and protein foods such as milk, eggs, meat and fish and provide all the Nutrients in adequate amounts.
The rate of growth of children and the nutritional status of the population are very good. Studies carried out in United Kingdom and United States of America have shown that the quality of diets consumed by the people during the period 1910-1960 have been steadily improving and consequently the growth rate of children indicating thereby that the diets have been adequate for promoting maximum growth in children. On the other hand, the diets consumed by a large majority of the population in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and
Latin America, are based mainly on Energy Yielding Foods and contain only small amounts of Protective Rich Foods. Such diets are deficient in proteins, certain vitamins and minerals.
A fair section of the population does not get enough food to eat and their diets are deficient in calories also. The rate of growth of children in the developing countries is poor. The children are malnourished, emaciated and stunted. The incidence of protein calorie malnutrition, clinical signs and symptoms due to vitamin A deficiency and anemia (Red Blood Cells- deficiency) are quite high among weaned infants and pre-school children.
Prevention of Malnutrition
The problem of overcoming malnutrition and improving the nutritional status of the vulnerable sections of the population has been engaging the attention of nutritionists. Studies carried out in several nutrition research laboratories all over the world have shown that supplementation of the diets with extra cereals, legumes and green leafy vegetables or with processed food supplements based on cereals, oilseed meals and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals can help effectively to overcome malnutrition and improve the health and nutritional status of the population. Recent developments have made it possible to manufacture vitamins synthetically on a large scale at low cost and use them for fortifying low cost food supplements and for the treatment of vitamin deficiency diseases. By the application of the available knowledge, it is possible to eradicate malnutrition.