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Adequate Nutrition Saves on Health Care Costs

19 May 2015
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - The head of Human Nutritional Sciences with the University of Manitoba says ensuring populations have access to adequate nutrition will improve health and result in health care savings, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Nutrition security will be among the issues looked at next week at the Winnipeg Convention Centre as part of the 2015 Canadian Nutrition Society annual conference.

Dr Jim House (pictured), the head of Human Nutritional Sciences with the University of Manitoba and the chair of the local organising committee for the Canadian Nutrition Society, says, if you're looking at northern communities in Canada, for example, access to high quality nutrient dense foods that are culturally appropriate is a challenge in terms of geographic location, distribution and cost.

Dr Jim House-University of Manitoba

We're not just talking about calories.

We're talking about adequate nourishment in total so the combination of high quality proteins and vitamins and minerals in addition to just calories and so some of the issues are challenges for nutritional security in northern communities and what are some of the factors that we need to be thinking about and coming up with more holistic plans and engaging with communities to ensure nutritional security, looking at factors that influence food and nutritional security in international communities and how that will have an influence on maternal health.

There's a lot of interest in what's called the first 1,000 days of life of a baby basically.
The current belief is that what gets developed within the first 1,000 days of an individual's life will basically dictate the quality of the life that they have well into adulthood so that early stage of life is really important and nutrition plays a key role in that.

Dr House says we know the linkage between diets that aren't adequate in proper nutrition and the role that plays with long term chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, which can significantly impact health care dollars.

He suggests ensuring we have adequate nutrition programs for populations will ultimately translate into health care savings down the road.


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